Morgan Hill, Grover Beach

I was 6 years old when my Uncle Rod and Aunt Olive up and moved to California with my cousins Rick and Priscille. Priscille was my idol at the time – she was my only girl cousin in our little home town in New Hampshire. And she was so cool – she was 11. I asked ‘Mom, where’s California?’ ‘It’s far’ she said.

Fast forward 35 years. My brother reports that he’s visited our 4 cousins in California. You know, Rod’s kids. Wait a minute…

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Skyline

In the early 1940s my grandparents bought a cattle ranch on the San Francisco peninsula, in the Santa Cruz mountains west of Palo Alto, off of the California 35, which is also known as the Skyline Boulevard. My mom and her sisters and brother moved to the ranch at relatively young ages and did most of their growing up there. Eventually my grandfather left the ranch to pursue other ventures, while my grandmother decided to stay put and established on the ranch a nursery specializing in California native plants.

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Chico

David, Sue, Trudy, Doug

On our way back north, we stopped in Chico to visit David and Trudy. Dave is Katy’s¬†brother and also Pete’s. Here in the Central Valley of California, folks grow food. Fruit, nuts, rice, cattle, and more. No surprise then that our sightseeing tour had a focus on food, with even some eating thrown in, and there were other aspects, as well.

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Oregon City – like coming home

Sue, Sharon, John, Doug, Mandy

My list of people who were most influential on who I became as an adult certainly includes John and Sharon. They opened my eyes and heart to diversity, open-mindedness and life balance, allowing me to see a whole new world of possibilities. That’s a long story. The short version is that I was John’s tenant, renting the camper in his back yard in 1983-1984, when he met Sharon. Together with their kids Josh, then 5, and Michael, 7, and a few pets, we lived together as a funky alt-family. They married, and I met Doug and moved back to the east coast.

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Crater Lake National Park

Doug had toured Crater Lake in his youth, and we visited together in 2012. Mo had never been. It’s one of those places that’s so amazing that you can visit over and over again. Let’s go! Except, uh oh, there were several wildfires just west of Crater Lake, impacting air quality and visibility. *Sigh*

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Yamsi Ranch

My mother’s sister Gerda lives on a cattle ranch in southern Oregon, and has done so for close to all of her adult life. The ranch has been her family home since my uncle Hawk took it over from his uncle Buck and my aunt has been running the place with her family for decades. She is an honored cattlewoman and has been a strong matriarch of the family and the family business.

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