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?

Monday, May 4, 2015

From the Archives -- Driving the Bolsa

Here's another post from the Take 25 to Hollister archives. Imagine what Bolsa Road, aka Highway 25, would be like today if the casino, Sun City, and El Rancho San Benito had been built.

The 25, The Bolsa—Same Difference
(originally published October 14, 2008) 

The route into Hollister from the north is via the two-lane Bolsa Road. California State Highway 25, to be more precise, says the Husband. That, I suppose, is a difference between having lived here as a kid and now as an adult. Also the difference between being an old-timer and one fresh-off-the-highway. You say "Highway 25," I say "Bolsa Road." Potay-toe, po-ta-tah. Toe-may-toe, toe-mah-tah. By the way, there are tomato fields on the Bolsa. Not the road, but the area.

Bolsa is the Spanish word for pocket. No doubt it comes from Rancho Bolsa de San Felipe, of which the route and surrounding land were part during the once-upon-the-time of Spanish and Mexican dons. I've read that this pocket of land was known for its swamp, willow grove, and ravine. During heavy rains (remember those?), Bolsa Road can get so flooded that it has to be closed. That can be maddening when you need to get in and out of town, but still the flooded plain is a beautiful sight to behold.

It's 12 miles between Hollister and Highway 101 by way of the Bolsa. Twelve miles out to the real world. Twelve miles back to living far, far away. I’m not kidding. When movers from the Bay Area drove our belongings here, they panicked at the instant sight of no buildings, no freeway exchanges, and no sound walls as they turned onto the Bolsa. One mover called his honey and said he was half-way to Los Angeles.

On the Bolsa, you drive 12 miles of flat land, first viewing row crops, next cows out standing in their fields, and then row crops again. As you get closer to Hollister, you see a few orchards too. And, yes, there used to be a lot more orchards and on both sides of the road.

Being older and having lived for many years of adulthood out in the real world of freeways and noise, tall buildings and noise, urban crowdedness and noise, I appreciate the drive through space that is the Bolsa to seemingly far, far away of Hollister. Who knows how much longer this luxury of nothingness will last. Just within the past five years different developers tried putting up an Indian casino and a Sun City along the Bolsa. There’s still talk about building a brand-new town on the Bolsa, nearer to highway 101. I don’t even want to try to imagine it.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

From the Archives -- The Pinnacles

Today is another post from the Take 25 to Hollister archives. It's the first one I wrote about the Pinnacles before it became the Pinnacles National Park.  FYI: The post is slightly edited for today.

Pinnacles National Monument
(originally published September 17, 2008)
My mom loves to visit the Pinnacles. It reminds her of the Philippines. I don’t know if it’s the starkness of the mountains, the smell of the air, the feel of the breeze, or the way the sun warms your body as you trample along the trails. She’s never said. I just know that besides her gardens, the Pinnacles National Monument provides her with a sense of calm.

The Pinnacles is about 30 miles south of Hollister. It generally takes us (the Husband and I) about 45 minutes, but that’s because we are old farts who like to rubberneck the scenery. Not to worry. The traffic is sparse, but you do need to pay attention to curves the nearer you get to the park. You head south out of town on Highway 25. Depending on the time of day, we may stop at Flapjack's Country CafĂ© in Tres Pinos for breakfast. That’ll be a story for another day.

According to the scientists, the Pinnacles is actually part of the Neenach Volcano that erupted waaaaay down south near Lancaster, California. The volcano was split by, yes, the San Andreas Fault. Over 23 million years, more or less, the Pinnacles was slowwwwwwwwly carried northwesterly to where it stands today. At the same time that it was inching up, wind and water carved out the spires and crags that someone in modern-day history decided to call the Pinnacles. Then President Theodore Roosevelt came along and established it as a national monument.

This year, the U.S. National Park Service celebrated the monument’s 100th anniversary. Since 1908, it has grown from 5,000 acres to approximately 26,000 acres. (Thank you ranchers and rancher descendents.) The park service is currently developing a general management plan for the next 15 to 20 years. Public input is appreciated.

You can do a lot of things at the Pinnacles. Depending on the time of year, you can scramble through talus caves, which are home to Townsend’s big-eared bats. But you can't go through 'em if the bats are there. You can bring your ropes and things and climb on the spires themselves. And of course you can hike easy paths and not-so-easy ones, which may make your hands sweat at certain HIGH points. If you’re lucky, you can see a California Condor or two circling above you. You can also hang out at a picnic table and enjoy the day, while the rest of your party are getting sweaty and tired.

There are actually two entrances to the Pinnacles National Monument. The west gate is off Highway 101, near Soledad. You can’t drive west to east through the park. But you can easily hike through it. Camping is on the Hollister side only.

Hmm, I think it's time to take out the hiking shoes.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

From the Archives -- The Organic Farm Stand

I'm posting articles from my archives for the next few days. This one is about purchasing fresh organic vegetables from the Pinnacle Organic Farm on Saturdays in 2008, which we still do today. FYI: I edited the original piece.

 If It's Saturday, It Must Be Farm Day
(originally published on October 25, 2008)

We live in an agricultural area where some organic produce is grown. Yet, when the Husband and I moved to Hollister five years ago, one of the things I really missed about living in the big city area was being able to buy organic produce year round. Ironic, isn't it?

Between May and late August, we are fine. The local farmers market comes to downtown Hollister every Wednesday afternoon. It’s a small market, which seems to get smaller each year. The unfortunate thing about farmers markets is that the cost of fruits and vegetables are higher than in the stores. I think it’s worth paying the extra pennies for lettuce, tomatoes, squash, onions, potatoes, apples, artichokes, and so forth to feel, smell, and taste them the way that they are created to be.

A couple of winters ago, we learned that the Pinnacle Organic Farm(part of the Phil Foster Ranches) in San Juan Valley opens it farm stand every Saturday morning. FYI: Phil Foster Ranches sells its certified organic produce to Whole Foods Markets and other grocery shops. The farm stand is open year round, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. It's located on Duncan Avenue, between Bixby Road and Lucy Brown Road.

We go to this farm stand almost every Saturday. Early or late, it doesn’t matter. The produce is fresh. If some things are low, just ask, and they’ll replenish the stock if they have more on hand.

I wrote a note back in September that we had bought potatoes, onions, garlic, yellow cauliflower, watermelon, cilantro, carrots, apples, zucchinis, and a few other things for just over $20. I would've spent much more for the same amount, if I bought the food at a Whole Foods Market.

Other farm stands in the area are Bertuccio's Market/The Farm and Casa de Fruta. Along with produce, which may or may not be certified organic, they sell other food products. Casa de Fruta also offers fun activities for kids and adults.

Today is Saturday. We’re off to the farm.

Friday, May 1, 2015

From the Archives -- Drought!

My blogging brain is spent from participating in last month's Blogging from A to Z April Challenge with both Take 25 to Hollister and The View from the Top of the Ladder.  So, for the next several days, I shall post past stories from my archives. 

Do you recall that we were going through a "significant" drought throughout California from 2007 to 2009? Significant is in quotes because that's how the California Department of Water Resources described it. I'm wondering if we even got out of that drought condition from back then. What do you think?

A little bit of thunder and rain. Yippyy!!
(originally published October 19,2008)

A loud Ka-POW! woke me up early yesterday morning.

“Is that thunder?”

The Husband reassured me it was. I was happy. It has been a long while since I had heard something like that.

A few seconds later, I heard a steady beat on the roof. “Is that rain?”

“Yes,” said the Husband. “Rain.” Deliriously joyed, I fell back to sleep.

Unfortunately, the next time I woke up, the day was brightly shining. The ground and pavement were wet so that was good. Needless to say, the plants were happy, happy.

You bet rain is a big thing. We're going through a d-r-o-u-g-h-t, again. Normally, the rain would’ve stayed throughout the whole weekend and maybe even into the following week. For now, we look at the billowy clouds with hope.



Related Posts with Thumbnails