So while Blaine was gone on Saturday, me, my sister and my parents headed over to the California Poppy Festival in Lancaster. It ended up not being quite as impressive as we had thought it would be. When you think Poppy Festival, you think fields of poppies and... a festival around them, somehow. Well - it turned out it was more like a park in Lancaster, that had planters with poppies in them. We were really there for the poppies, but it was 95% merchants.
Me, Dad & Mom. Sister played photographer as usual. Ever since my uncle gave her this great camera, she won't put it down! I don't mind, though! I love having our memories captured in photographs that we can look back on.
We didn't get a picture of the line, but it was SO long. We didn't expect it to be THIS crazy, but it was.
Lawren (sister) & I sitting in the grass with our toms that we're in love with!
This was the extent of the poppies at the California Poppy Festival. A planter in the middle of the park with Poppies. There was also a planter in the parking lot with Poppies. Not exactly what we were expecting!
Funnel Cake! So good.
There were a few of these neat painted deer scattered all over the park, I didn't get a chance to look at the plaque to figure out what they were all about, but they were pretty!
Bobcat from the cat rescue. The woman talking said that someone had intended for him to be a pet. The stupidity of people amazes me. He was so cute, though. He reminded me of my little Diego at home.
This owl was SO cool looking. I kept giggling at his awkward little legs.
Kangaroo lounging. He looked like he was posing, except he was facing away from everyone, so I think he was just shunning us.
On our walk back there was an Ice Cream truck. The guy laughed at me when I asked if he had Ninja Turtles. Psh. I got a creepy Powerpuff Girl instead.
Lawren got Sonic the Hedgehog. It would've been way cooler if we had been eating Ninja Turtles.
So we left the Poppy festival. We weren't all that impressed. I thought it was fun just because we got to hang out with each other for a couple hours.
So we left the California Poppy Festival and hopped in the car to go to my uncle's ranch a little less than an hour away.
On our way we saw orange stained mountains all around us. We drove towards them hoping to see some poppies and definitely found them! They were so pretty. There were some other people pulled over to admire them as well. Apparently these poppies are only in bloom like this for a couple weeks out of the year.
We were so excited & took tons of pictures!
I tried to lay in them (without laying on any) for a photo, but it was SO bright, I couldn't see a thing and could NOT stop squinting.
My sister is a little more graceful than I am.
Mom, Dad & Lawren
Me, Dad & Mom
My shadow frolicking in the poppies.
Me scowling at my sister, not really sure why.
The wind was CRAZY. A good number of pictures were cursed with black blurred lines from our hair blowing infront of the lens of the camera.
Then we were off to the De Vera Ranch! Or... where the De Vera Ranch used to be. It hasn't been running for at least 5 years, sadly. I miss it to death. My uncle used to have 160 acres of Apple trees and later added Cherry trees. But then he shut down production when I was much younger. We went there several times a year when I was little and I loved it. I remember it being my favorite place to go on weekends and during the summer. My whole giant family would make the 2 hour trek to Tehachapi, CA and pull up to the farm with the horses and the apples. We would BBQ and hang out. We would have little adventures, my sister, cousins & I. We got lost in the Apple Orchards. We road ATV's. I faintly even remember riding the horses a few times. He even had a little pond that when I was MUCH younger and the Ranch was doing well, people used to go out on boats. It was SO fun. Like our extended families own little vacation spot.
Then, I'm assuming, the cost of production just got too expensive and it started withering away. He moved to the Philippines & sold 80 of his 160 acres a couple years ago. There is still 80 acres up for sale and I would give ANYTHING to buy it and bring it back to life. I would LOVE to run a ranch, it would be such a little dream life for me. I know it'd be hard, but just to keep that ranch in the family would be so worth it.
To the left is the back part of the trailer where my uncle lived when he lived here and the ranch was in production. The gazebo was the setting for lots of BBQ and just hanging out. The caboose used to be so fun to explore before the animals & nature took it over. I never really knew how it got on the property, to be honest.
Of course I had to greet the caretakers dogs when I first got out. This little one was such a love.
This black one was pretty skittish, he reminded me of my Einstein at home. Both herding dogs. Both kind of circle you when they're nervous. It's too cute.
I finally got him to come around. So what if I had to bribe him with some cheese from my pizza?
Some of the trees that are left standing. Most of the others are completely gone. There was still some snow on the mountains. It was beautiful there that day.
Random box car. Train car. What is it even called? It reminds me of the Box Car Children books. It says "Pacific Fruit Express".
My pops on the Caboose.
The outside of the factory where they washed & packaged up the apples for delivery. You would dump the apples at the beginning of the green thing, it would be full out water and it would pull them inside to the factory.
On the other side of the building. That sign used to be a huge "De Vera Ranch" sign. Now the first part is leanded up against the pilars and the rest is falling off.
We started to enter the factory, which is where that truck is parked on the right... and of course my dad had to jump out at us and scare us to death
I ran away...
then circled around, while still freaking out a little..
then came back. Thanks dad. Thanks.
The inside of the factory.
I remember watching the women who used to stand around these round tables and pick the apples and pack them into boxes.
Lots of boxes piled on top of & around the restrooms. We went to see if they had any boxes with De Vera Ranch on them.
I found ONE! The rest were a different company name. I was SO excited that I had found one.
Lawren was excited, too!
My sister and her weird mirror photos. And me seeing if there were more De Vera Ranch boxes on top of the bathroom... and if I could climb up there to look.
My dad in the factory. We reminiced about the good times at the farm. It's so sad to think this may be our last time here.
This is the creepy freezer we were too afraid to open last time we were here. This time I opened it (notice how far away I am from it) and Lawren stood back to take a picture. Of course it had the creepy plastic hanging down so we couldn't see inside anyway. We convinced my dad to go in and look. Nothing exciting, sadly. But we still refused to go in and look.
More of the outside of the factory where they would dump the apples in water to clean.
Random barn that I think housed... pigs? maybe goats? Now it's full of junk. That dirt road goes all the way around the property.
Of course I stepped in mud in my new Toms. Not only did I step in it, I sank in a good inch. Great.
And then we found it... inside the box car!
The holy grail of De Vera Ranch boxes!
I started working on getting some cleaner ones to take home as a momento.
It was pretty nasty and dusty and there was bird poop on some of them. Ew. But we got like 5. Then got home and realized the boxes are 2 piece boxes and that the De Vera Ranch part is the TOP. So now our boxes are useless as boxes and are just there for show. Unless we get to go back one day to get bottoms.
Found this really pretty piece of carved wood outside the box car. I have no clue who Nora is but I took it anyway.
Not really sure what this is, but I was certain that something was going to fall out of it into my mouth. Nothing did.
And then we took photos on the Caboose!
There was a cute little bird nest in the light over the door.
We tried to get in, but the floor had risen. It looked like it was from moisture & heat. The door wouldn't open more than a few inches, so we looked longingly into the windows.
Then we went to the otherside and eventually got that door open!
I really do miss that place. I wish I could go back to elementary school age. Those were the best times there. Eating unlimited amounts of apples fresh off the trees. Gushing over the baby chicks that roamed the property. Playing with the 2 farm labs. Blackie & Midnight. Yes I do remember their names even though they must have passed over 10 years ago.
The best times of my life were definitely at this farm. I hoped it would last forever and never thought that it wouldn't be around as I got older. If I had known, I would've begged to go more often than we did. I would've savored every second spent there. But at least we all have our memories.
I know there are some sweet 80's & early 90's pictures from the farm around here somewhere. I think I'll find those sometime soon and scan them. They make me so happy when I look at them!