Friday, April 16, 2010

"Who Was That Masked Man?"

 A few weeks ago Moth and I decided to take a day off each week just for ourselves and explore some of the places nearby that we have always been too busy to visit.  So last week on a beautiful afternoon we set off to explore the Leo Carrillo Ranch -- about 30 minutes away.  Armed with bottles of water, a book for Moth and binoculars and camera for me, we set off.

If you're old enough to remember The Cisco Kid, you've dated yourself! Although we have lived in Carlsbad 36 years we have never been to the Cisco Kid's Ranch.  It it less than 30 minutes away. Last week we finally made it to what is actually known as "The Leo Carrillo Ranch." Carrillo played the part of the Cisco Kid

This was the first thing we saw.  But not to worry, we hardy, stalwart, converted Californians weren't worried a bit.  We didn't intend to go far on the trails even though the ranch is 25 acres.  Though hardy and stalwart, we actually like our comfort and that's what we were looking for -- somewhere quiet and beautiful, one of us to read and the other to watch birds.  I'd better tell you now, we didn't see any rattle snakes.  Since living in California all these years, we have had one or two in our back yard, but not recently.  I always make a lot of noise with my feet before doing much watering in the back yard.  They really aren't there just waiting to bite you.  So if  you make a lot of noise chances are they will slither away -- and chances are there weren't any there in the first place.  Many, many houses have been built behind and around us since we saw the last one -- oops -- I just remembered we did have a couple of baby ones not too many years ago.

The grounds around the ranch house were absolutely beautiful.  I will post a couple of shots for today and some more probably on Monday.  This is what we know as typical southwestern house and grounds only very well kept up.  But I have to tell you that any green grass you see is artificial turf!!  We are in a drought time in a desert climate so though we were a little disillusioned, it really only makes sense because we need all our water.  In addition you really have to go up and touch it to make sure that it is certainly artificial.

I think this is part of the caretaker's house.  We didn't really note the historical influence because we just wanted somewhere pleasant to sit and enjoy all the beauty around us. Remember I can do only very limited walking.

I thought this pottery was a nice contrast to the succulents on either side of it.  The plants were a deep mahogany red and shone like someone had polished them.  Beautiful!

About 50 yards away was the patio with three beautiful wooden tables and chairs (made out of wood from Thailand, it said on the back).  It was very comfortable and there we made camp for a couple of hours.  We chose the table in the shade because it was such a beautiful day.  We brought our own water and I just happened to have a couple of chocolate cookies in my bag.  I can't imagine how they got there!  Now we know how nice it is we will bring a flask of hot tea like all good Britishers do on a picnic!  There is nowhere to buy anything, it's strictly for viewing enjoyment and we were very careful not to leave a trace.  There is a picnic area not too far away under some eucalyptus trees, but that's mainly for families.  It has swings -- and maybe -- snakes???

 This was our view from the patio.  Notice the arch by the bouganvillea.*
 It was a perfect afternoon.  I saw a flock of cedar waxwings which we don't get in our neighborhood, some bush tits, tree sparrows and song sparrows.

*I have some really good shots of this, but Blogger is not cooperating!!!  Does anyone else have problems with blogger freezing up  -- especially when accessing other blogs through the dashboard?
I will post some more tomorrow when perhaps blogger will behave itself.


claude said...

Beautiful place, Chris ! I am sure you had a good time over there.
I had some problems with blogger. On last two weeks I could not load any photo on my blog anymore.
I had do subscrib another google account and invite myself on my own blog to continue to post.

Autumn Leaves said...

I have had a few issues with blogger myself, same types of things, Chris. What gorgeous grounds you have there! I think those succulents are the same ones that I am currently doing a small painting of...(oh the grammar mistakes in that sentence!)...

Wanda said...

Oh Chris...What a delightful idea to take a day off and explore.

I need to talk my MOTH into doing that!

The pictures on wonderful. Surely that is not a real snake in that first picture!!!

Happy Trails to you, and yes, I remember the Masked Man!

Rune Eide said...

I envy you this tour - A bit of that summer (at least that is what is looks like to me :-) ) would have been nice.

Thank you for the comment - no direct problems with the volcano ash except for an occasional tang of sulphur in the air and ash-induced rain. The grounded air transport, however, may turn out to me a very major problem.

Anonymous said...

I really did enjoy my visit to your blog today. I really liked reading what you had to say. And the Mister Picture was stunning. And you hat there made the scene imaginable. I like snakes and I don't like them. I had a stunning surprise of my own day before yesterday.

We have wild violets that, if you let them get started, have exploding shells for seeds that, like bombs, send seeds all over the place, otherwise I am not able to tell you how they multiply with rhizomes. Anyway...several were beginning to bloom in a small patch of grass that was in the shade this particular morning. I got the dandelion spray out and was spraying them when off went a garter snake. A small one. Not big. But, and I know better, I could only think of a giant fish worm or night crawler and I even had my camera with the normal lens in the other hand. But the little guy was gone before I get my mind to catch up with my hands. So now we have to watch so we (Patty does the lawn mowing now since I can't breathe normally or without oxygen) don't run over them with the lawn mower.

Back to your post.

I also really like the photos. I mean the colors in them are just beautiful. Especially the last one.

And, finally, I did not know human beings used "astro" turf or artificial grass. I thought that was just something made up by politicians in Washington -- to use artificial grass and save the green stuff -- the real stuff -- for big the wigs. Talk about a Tea Party, there is a reason for anybody to start one.

Is there some place a person can go look at some of this artificial grass? Is it something anybody can buy and spread out on the dirt like you spread a comforter on a bed?

Amazing progress. Artificial flowers and grass.

You didn't say if the flowers were plastic.

ChrisJ said...

The flowers are real, Abe. The astro-turf however is very popular around here now that we are on severe water restrictions. The local high school's playing field is all astro-turf. I'm just glad it looks real, but we know it, isn't given our lack of rain and watering restrictions. Most people have low watering yards and perhaps desert type gardens.

I will try to post some more photos later this afternoon.

Ken said...

What a great idea to become tourists in your own backyard. There are so many touristy things I have never done in the Toronto area. Like go up the CN tower. Maybe this summer.

sandy said...

I'm going to have to check out this place. I really enjoyed the photos and I want to go visit there!