San Andreas/Railroad Flats, CA
The Farming Kids of Calaveras County
Not only are we behind on our blog entries we are behind on just about everything; still trying to tie up loose ends.Once we left Williams Arizona and the Grand Canyon we loaded in the "Meet the Faulker's" RV bus of my parents and headed towards my brother and his girlfriend's place in Calaveras County.They are situated about 15 miles outside of San Andreas near a one horse town called Railroad Flat.The lure of this area is to escape civilization and venture back to our ancestors way of living, off the land.It is definitely not an easy way of life but my brother David and his girlfriend Kathleen seem to do it seamlessly.They were very gracious in allowing us to invade their dwelling for a four night stay.During this time of year the weather is incredible so most people just sleep outside, at least in this area and David and Kathleen are no different.They allowed us to stay in their room while the kids made a palette on the living room floor and they slept in a mosquito net wrapped bed off the back porch.They live in a little house on about 30 acres owned by Kathleen's father.Kathleen's father, Blair, lives on the property in a home he built.There is another house on property that tenants Ross & Candace and their two kids live in. It is your typical commune and works quite well for all of them.David and Kathleen's farm house comes equipped with all your standard farm things including but not limited to goats, chickens, turkeys, an occasional duck, and a full vegetable and herb garden. The kids had an incredible time, Emma in particular, waking each morning to milk the goats and collect the chicken eggs.Sam was able to wake on time one of the mornings to see the goat milking but still did not care to touch the goat teats at all.Emma absolutely loved it and can't stop talking about our future stay on a farm in New Zealand.Their goats usually produce, between the two of them, about a gallon and a half each day.This is a lot of milk that can spoil within 3 days if not property pasteurized and stored.As you could imagine there is no way to pasteurize the milk so David and Kathleen make their own yogurt and soft cheese therefore it is consumed fairly quickly.Kathleen was very gracious and showed us the hobbit house down the road from them.It was a 3 story little structure built by hand.The floor was made of leveled out tree stumps and the gaps were filled in with concrete.The walls were mostly rock and held the cool air in the house.A rudimentary step ladder/ stairs took you to the second level and even smaller stairs through a small hole to a very small third level.The kids found a fire escape ladder that draped the tin roof from the third floor.They carefully climbed down the ladder and thought it was great fun.The house was a perfect kids' play place.
Calaveras Big Tree National Park
Friday, September 5th
(Author-Susan)In Calaveras Big Tree National Park we toured the Redwood grove. The Sierra Redwoods (Sequoias) were absolutely amazing, the largest living things on earth.There were some we could walk through and one that had been cut to a stump and used as a large stage where the park hosted concerts.We then drove to a part of the Stanislaus river in the park and there we had a picnic and attempted to swim in the icy cold water.It was a beautiful setting and we sat around and ate, napped and read.It was very peaceful.After we left there we drove to Kathleen's mom's house in a town called Arnold and got dressed.We went to the outdoor Ironstone Amphitheatre where we heard Willie Nelson.The kids had never seen him live and I figured they might not before he stopped touring.He's getting pretty old and he isn't much of a performer anymore.Both of the kids fell asleep and Brent and I carried them back to the car, which was a fairly long distance from the venue.Our babies are getting pretty heavy to be carrying for a long distance.