So I packed the kids in to the Ford Escape Hybrid and we setoff at a little after 9:00 this morning with our first stop about 10 miles away in the town of Penryn and the Calwell Thundering Herd Ranch. It’s #1 in the map above. The drive to this spot took me down Sierra College Boulevard which is a truly spectacular drive through the foothills that run between Roseville and Lincoln which include outskirts of the town of Penryn. The drive took me up in to the foothills and then down in to a valley where the Farm was located on the foothills alone one side of the road that meandered through the area.
Although the idea was to try and get the kids interested in the local agriculture, they are still kids and this really did not amaze them. Since they had had readily available citrus fruit from their own back yard for the last 5 years, the novelty of mandarin oranges or fresh citrus fruit seemed to be lost on them and they decided to just run around the orchard like the kids they are and they were really being well behaved and not overly loud and rambunctious. Since the person giving me the tour did not seem to mind, I just let them go and do their own thing while I admired the property and the trees with the owner.
They had persimmon cookies which they offered to Haplo and Kethry along with Red Vines, although I am unsure what Red Vines have to do with Citrus or farms. They were such nice people and because we were the first people to arrive, we received their undivided attention. The farm produces citrus which they then press and mix with locally produced Olive Oil as well as a couple of balsamic based products as well. The attention and desire to see this event succeed for them created the urge to purchase something from the gift shop, so I purchased a gift box, which was a little bit expensive for olive oil and vinegar when compared to what you can purchase from Safeway, but to me it was more then worth it. The fruit was produced locally, as was the olive oil. It was pressed locally and bottled locally. So basically this entire product brought much needed revenues in to this area. So, it was a score for me. Of course I will probably gift it to someone.
The nerd in me thought it was awesome that he was using an Intuit Credit Card attachment on his iPhone to process the transactions and I told him as much. This technology empowers small businesses in ways that we are only just realizing. So I loaded the kids back in to the car and we began our trek to the next stop on our little tour was The Sinclair Family Farm located in the town of New Castle. The drive from Penryn to New Castle took us on a meandering route to New Castle. While driving, I noticed a really cool store along the way called Cowgirl Corner which reminded me of my friend Sandy Benesch. I got this overwhelming urge and did a U-Turn and went back through the short tunnel through the steep hillside so that I could stop in the parking lot and take a picture of Kethry standing under the sign. I don’t know, why, exactly but I did. Thanks Sandy, you have just made me take my level of insanity to a new level.
So here she is standing below the sign without really understanding what was so special about the sign or why I stopped. Keep in mind that a lot of this land was cattle country and still is. There are REAL Cowboys and REAL Indians in this county. There are also more pick-up Trucks per capita then in most of Texas. Every time I see a Cowboy Clothing Store or something like that, I always feel the need to take a picture of it because in reality there is more of this in California then there are surfers, actors and High Tech Nerds combined.
We finally arrived at the driveway leading up to the Farm and I saw this amazing sign posted on the side of the driveway leading up to the Farm proper and had to stop to let another car pass, so I took the opportunity to snap a photograph.
Of course Haplo asked why I took a picture of it and instead of beating around the bush, I explained it to him. I think that if we do this more with our kids, if we explain why something that might be inappropriate to them is funny then they learn and feel included. I curse when I am angry and I usually tell my kids that when they become adults they can curse as well but not until then. I also have explained to them when I am upset or angry in public how I don’t swear or curse. So, I asked him what animal it was and then explained that sometimes that animal is referred to as an Ass. It’s not like he hasn’t been exposed to this before, he has seen Kevin Costner in The Postman and there is part in the beginning where he lists all the things he likes about his ‘Ass.’ Of course in that scene he is referring to his pack animal.
So we parked and got out to look around. The first thing I saw was the bacon err Forbidden Meat err pigs. Look, if we were not supposed to eat them, then Nature would NOT have made them so damn tasty. Enough Said.
For such a small pen and less then 10 animals, they really, really, really smelled. I looked around for a spider to try and redeem these tasty morsels but alas, I don’t think these guys have anything on Zuckerman’s Famous Pig and that is NOT a reference to Facebook. The OTHER Zuckerman’s Famous Pig.
As we meandered around the farm, we came to the Sheep paddock. Sheep can be amazing animals because Wool is like no other natural material. It retains its ability to insulate the person wearing it and it is why the US Navy still purchases and deploys 100% wool “P-Coats.” My inner Beavis is itching to make some inappropriate sexual innuendo about sheep being afraid of Zippers and that’s why the Scots wear Kilts but I will resist and just leave it up to Your Favorite Martian to say it for me in this video although it might be NSFW:
Ok, now that I have gotten that off of my chest, we can continue with our adventure. I forced Haplo and Kethry to stop while I took a picture. It would have been a truly awesome picture as Haplo was holding Kethry’s hand but he dropped right before I took the picture. This one is not too bad, but the other would have just been indicative of how strong their relationship is.
I realize that everyone thinks that their kids are amazing and beautiful which is really only natural considering they are your progeny but I know that my kids are exceptionally attractive and engaging because of all the attention that they seem to get from the people that they encounter every day and always have. When both of them were younger, I could not stray more then 10 feet from the shopping cart with them in it for fear someone would take them or create a scene which happened a few times before I realized how to stop it. The town I live in is dominated by Cowboys, Indians and Retired People. Literally. There is a High School Rodeo Grounds on the road in to town, now called Lincoln Boulevard from the new Highway 65 bypass. Proof that there are Cowboys here. There is a casino located on the outskirts of the City Limits called Thunder Valley and it is a legal Casino owned by a local Indian Tribe in Auburn. Proof that there are Indians in my town, sort of. Finally there is Sun City Lincoln Hills which is a planned retirement community that sits on the hills just above historic downtown area of Lincoln, California 95648.
Finally, while we were there, the farm put on a display of working dog athletics by using there Border Collies to herd the sheep from one side of their enclosure to another.
For some reason as we were leaving the farm, I saw this table and heard Sean Bean saying in his best Ned Stark voice “The Great Pumpkin is coming!” I couldn’t explain to anyone why I was chuckling because they would really have thought I was weird.
Ok, so it wasn’t that funny. But it was amusing for a minute or so. I then noticed this poster explaining the origins of the farm and how it operated and thought I would share it.
What an awesome project. I had intended to try and get to two other farms today, one an all organic farm in Auburn, California which is the county seat for Placer County, which is the county I live in. Unfortunately, the directions to the farm did not yield enough clues to find the actual farm, so I tried to go to the next one and issues with my Sprint Epic 4g Touch, its built in GPS functionality and my network connection on their network prevented me from being able to use it to get to the next location. Since I did not have a map or the ability to get one and was unsure of the name of the next place, I asked the kids what they wanted to do. The agreed unanimously to go home, So I took California Highway 193 home which is an amazing scenic drive that twists and turns as ONLY an old country road can. It’s narrow and people like to speed which adds a bit of adventure to it and should result in everyone receiving an “I survived Highway 193!” T-Shirt or something. Thanks for reading and as always all comments are appreciated.