Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Lucky Showers And Manistee Ranch

The Family had Dinner at Pei Wei and we all got our Fortune Cookies.  Princess T wasn't happy with hers at all and it immediately showed in her countenance.  You see, it's really important to her that she always gets a Good Fortune she's completely Happy about!!!   "Gramma... could you read this to me?  It doesn't make any sense... so I didn't get a good one and I don't like mine!", she pouts angrily.
"You will be showered with Good Luck in the Future."
I read it out loud and Wonder what's not to like?  I tell her it makes perfect sense and it IS a good one, what's so bad about Good Luck?  To which she responds, "Because it's stupid... what's so Lucky about getting a good shower in the future?!!!??!??"  {The rest of us laughed so hard we had tears running down our faces and our sides hurt!!!}   Now she's really upset because she thinks we're laughing at what she considers her Bad Fortune, because she still doesn't 'Get It' that they're not talking about THAT kinda Shower... uh oh.

But it wasn't all tears, even though I wasn't Lucky enough to squeeze in the 'Junk In The Trunk' Event because our itinerary was already packed solid for the Weekend and so Full that a trek across the Valley couldn't be managed.  We had the Dealer Breakfast that Morning and the Historic Manistee Ranch was having it's last Tour of the Season on Saturday at Noon and I'd Promised the G-Kid Force we'd go.  The last time I'd been on the Tour was before either of them had been born, when the City had recently Purchased the Property.  I was anxious myself to see the completed Preservation of the Magnificent Ranch House and Office Building of what had been a huge Working Ranch at the turn of the Century and owned by a prominent Family.  

 The Kiddos Enjoyed the Tour of the Office almost more than the Wonderful Main House with it's maze of rooms... because the Office had this Awesome Jail-Like Service Window!  *LOL... well, it was built when this was still the Wild Wild West and these folks were known to be Wealthy!*   So they each took turns being behind the bars... lets Hope this is the only time I ever see them like this!?!  *Smiles, I think they were Channeling Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and having Fun Pretending to be Outlaws!!*

Another big hit with the Kiddos {and myself} was the Awesome Collection of Antique Taxidermy in the enormous Basement of the Main House, which included many Rare Specimens since this is a Living History Museum ... Addams Family-ish as we are, of coarse it would be the Highlight of the Tour, right?  *Winks*

If only I could 'score' a Domestic Goat Head like this to Pimp Out Gypsy Style!  *Winks*  Since we were the only ones on the very last Tour of the Season they allowed us to linger as long as we liked and what I really Appreciated was how Welcoming the Docents were towards Children, Encouraging them to be Hands-On to get a Full-On Experience and ask endless Questions.

As well as Encouraging me to take as many Images as I liked to Promote the Property and the Preservation Measures still underway at the Ranch.   Our Tour was over an Hour long... and only Six Bucks for the three of us... so quite a Wonderful Educational Bargain and Experience for Families who have a Love of Old!   And way cheaper than I could have probably gotten off at 'Junk In The Trunk' I'm sure!  *LOL*

The Docents even Encouraged Prince R to play the two Pianos at the Property... the one in the Basement had the best Tone so he played a Song by Evanescence since he knows I Love that Group.   I didn't even know he was such a Gifted Pianist since I've never had to Rent a Piano for him!  *Smiles*  Just a laundry list of every other type of Rentable Instrument he was Passionate about learning for a Season!  *LOL*   Thank You to whoever allowed him to use their Piano to Learn to play it, he's Self-Taught and quite good I must say!!!  It was also Interesting to Learn that at the turn of the Century Arizona Residents were Taxed on such things as Bicycles and Pianos, which is why only the very Affluent had them and flaunted owning them.

We also thoroughly Enjoyed the enormous Collection of Vintage Racing Horse Images since the Sands Family had owned and raised Racing Horses too, among other things.  They really amassed their Wealth through a variety of Creative Ventures, though I had previously only known the Family to be well known for their Chevrolet Dealership and being Generous Philanthropists who Funded many worthy causes, including the Arts and Historic Preservation.

Thank God for Families such as theirs that Funded Projects for the General Public to continue to Enjoy for Generations, including their own Historic Home and some of the Acreage of the Original Ranch now turned into a Beautiful Serene Public Park!

I was totally Jazzed to discover that several of the Lampshades at the Mansion had similar Botanical Print Lampshades as a Lamp I recently 'Scored'.   I particularly Loved the ones with the Birds... would Love to be able to 'Score' one like this for myself!!!

But they also had the Floral Botanical Lampshade similar to the one I have.

And a Quilt of the State Flowers like some State Flower Embroidered Squares I recently 'Scored' for a mere Ninety-Nine Cents.   I don't have the complete set, mine only number 20, and I don't know if it's because the Artist who Created mine had other Lots of the Squares I didn't 'Score' or just didn't complete an entire set?   The Docents Encouraged me to Create something Special out of mine since they also Discovered these squares in their Raw Form in the Home and got together to make two Quilts out of them to Display in the Bedrooms.   One with the State Flowers...

And another with the State Birds.  I thought they did a Beautiful Job of it and brought Life to the Old Quilting Squares that someone many, many Years ago probably Intended to make into Useful Functional Art and didn't get around to it.

Okay, in case I didn't before I'm Showing Off my similar items... MY Fabulous Botanical Lampshade and the Lamp it came with, which I just J'Adore and 'Scored' at an incredible Bargain at my Friend Shelly's Shop!!! {Notice Princess T's Styling Touch of an LPS Figure on the Windowsill!  LOL}

And the Collection of State Flower Quilting Squares which I Plan to Create some Drapes out of with Burlap and Old Doilies for the Art Studio Cottage Bedroom's Carriage House Door's Windows.   I like that mine are on plain Flour Sack Material because it will lend itself well to the Organic Aesthetic I'm going for with the Drapes.

I probably wouldn't have needed an entire Set to complete my Drapes with anyway... and I have some of the Important States represented that our Families Connect to and have lived in or visited over the Years, or still have Family in... like Arizona, Utah, New York, Michigan, Massachusetts, Maine, Ohio, Wisconsin and New Mexico 

I need to get busy and Create those Drapes so that I can have the Art Studio Cottage Make-Over completed by Summer.

Meanwhile back at the Ranch... and back to the Manistee Ranch Tour... {smiles}

I Love when something hasn't been so 'Preserved and Restored' that it eradicates a Moment Frozen in Time.  What I particularly liked was how many of the Rooms were left 'As Is', just as they were Vacated so many Years ago when this was a Home and a Business.   So you could Imagine just how it 'Was' and not just how it was Interpreted by someone seeking to Recreate an Era.

In the Working Sections like the Office Building of the Ranch, the Business had been Frozen in Time and all the little Details remained in their dusty, well used Condition.

This is truly History Preserved so that you could know what it was like because it was as it used to be, untouched and unspoiled.   No re-creating necessary... these walls of storage cabinets were my Favorite... especially all the little embellishments to the Storage Boxes tacked on by Workers and Owners of the Business when it was still Operational.

It was like stepping into one of those Wonderful Abandoned Properties that nobody has touched since the last Occupants left.   We particularly have an affinity for such places.   And though we do also Appreciate the efforts of staunch Preservationists that completely Restore Wonderful Old Properties too... I'm glad that some remain untouched and yet still Preserved and Saved from demolition. 

I Believe there is a place for both forms of Preservation actually.  For the Ruins, the Abandoned left pretty much 'As Is' and Frozen in Time, and the meticulously Restored to Original Condition.   I Loved that this Upcycled Petit Point and Cross Stitch Crochet Square piece from the early 1800's had been incorporated into an Upcycled Baby's Blanket and then Donated in the 1920's to the Historical Society.  Proof again that so few things were thrown away and disposable back in da day... they used it up, wore it out, made do or did without!

The Pantry was Huge... a Full Room in fact, with floor to ceiling cabinets hand-painted with Cheerful Colors and Designs.   What I liked was the difference in this 1800's Mansion, since it was a busy Working Ranch housing a large Family and Work Hands.  So, unlike other Victorian Mansions of the Era, it wasn't as fussy and frivolous in Design just to Show Off the Family's Affluence... it had more Functional Simplicity, so even though the Family had great Wealth it felt more like a Home and Inviting rather than Formal, Pretentious and Stuffy.

You could clearly see why the Family Loved the Home enough to want to Preserve it, even after the last of their decendants ceased living in it, because it was a place of Memories and Good Times.   So many other Mansions out West were not actually Lived in long, if at all, by the Wealthy Families that actually built them.  So sadly, in many cases there was no Attachment to the Properties and they didn't care so much what happened to them, and most ceased to Exist or be Cared for after they were abandoned or Sold Off and fell into ruination or were razed.

I Loved this Antique Iceless Air Cooled Refrigerator... Burlap hung behind it and was kept wet to circulate Cooled Air.  I like that the Windows gave full view of what you had in there.

The rooms were all large on the Main Floor with vaulted ceilings, like this one...
But our Favorite Floors were the second and third floors which were like Secret Cubbies with low ceilings and mazes of Hallways and angled narrow stairways with Magnificent Views of the Property from the many Windows.  Rooms with the capacity for much Imagining and Pretending.
Our Family's consensus on the Favorite Place and Room of the entire Mansion was this Second Floor Treasure Trove of several tiny connecting rooms with low ceilings, a mini Door leading into it, and a zig-zag Hallway with Arched openings and many Windows with a View that led to one Surprise Secret cubby Room to yet another!!!   Yes, this is where we'd probably spend most of our time if we lived in the Mansion!  *Smiles*

And the Kitchens were Huge too... and there were two of them, just like our Old House, Bright and Cheerful and Quirky... just as we like them to be!  *Winks*  In fact, though this Old House is certainly not a Mansion or Working Ranch, it had many similarities to the Manistee Property and that was not lost on the G-Kid Force and they Shared with the Docents the similarities to our Beloved Home.   It's probably why we Connected so strongly to the Manistee Ranch Property in fact, it felt like Home in so many ways!   And many of the struggles the Historic Society has encountered in the Preservation and Protection Process of this Property we've also Endured over the Years and could Empathize with strongly.

I also Loved the Collections of Old West and Native American Treasures Displayed and Preserved.

And though many of the Original Fireplaces had been removed or sealed off over the Years, this Magnificent one in the Main Livingroom remained completely intact.

Another Favorite Part for us was that the Grand Entry Foyer connected with the Diningroom and Kitchens, Wonderful for Entertaining and Welcoming Guests and Friends!!!   Here are two of the three Wonderful Docents that gave us the Tour... the Property and Mansion is so large each Docent has an Area they take you through, like a relay race, but slowly and leisurely.

And of coarse all the small details are always a Favorite of any Historic Property... their Doors, Hardware and Wooden Architectural Elements were exactly like our Home in fact, even though this Property is much older!   Since our Property was built from Architectural Salvage from this Victorian Era though I can clearly see the Elements of this Period in our Home, even though it was built circa 1920 or so rather than the 1800's.  Many unfortunate 1800's Buildings that didn't make it into the Future were resurrected in the Creation and Construction of our Home, so they live on, just in a different Form and way as Repurposed Building Materials, long before it was Fashionable to do so.   Thank You Casey Abbott, for being such a Visionary and so far ahead of your Time! 

Though the Third Floor was Amazing because of the spectacular Views from the endless Windows that surrounded us on all sides... since this was the Sleeping Quarters where entire walls of Windows on all four sides could be opened to catch the breezes, long before there was such a thing as Air Conditioning in the Arizona Desert... and Marine Cloth was laid over the Wooden Floors so that torrential rains coming in during the Monsoon Seasons could just be swept down drainage pipes... it was a bit scary for the G-Kid Force because of how high up we were in a Centuries Old Building.  *LOL*

Every squeak and pop of the old floorboards had them glancing over at me with silent alarm... apparently they have a lot to live for.  *Smiles*   Whereas Gramma was just Enjoying it all so much that I was oblivious to the fact that well over a Centuries worth of Architectural know-how and Ancient Building Materials was between me and potential sudden death three stories down, apparently and according to the G-Kid Force!  *Bwahahahaha!*

I had to remind them that things were built quite solid back in da day, with Quality materials by skilled Craftsmen.  Then Preserved, Shored Up and Inspected by the City before being opened as a Living History Museum to the Public, so we were probably Safer than in most Modern Structures and Homes where Quality and Workmanship are questionable at best anymore IMO!  *Winks*  I seriously doubt that most Modern Subdivisions will still be standing a hundred plus Years from now in any kinda condition to be Admired!?

Given that speculated Gramma Info, the Kiddos relaxed, and once in the Basement, oddly were not so much Worried about being potentially buried alive or having the three floors above us come crashing down upon us, go figure??!  *LOL*   Apparently Basements seem sturdier and safer to them... probably due to the massive Stone and Brick Foundations surrounding us, which were quite Impressive I must say... and very Cool on a sweltering day... I don't know why more Desert Homes have Basements for that very reason in fact?   Well, I DO know why actually, sandy, unstable, ever expanding or hard as rock caliche Desert soils makes it not such a viable Construction Project.

But this Tour did make me Wish our Old Home had a Basement... so many possibilities for Basements... and during the fierce Summer Months, a very temperate place to hang out below ground and Chill on a Hot as Hell day.  *Smiles*

Our Hour Plus Tour actually flew by quite quickly... and then the G-Force and I went 'Pickin' and 'Scored' some Amazing Treasures.   Then off to the Spring Carnival at St. John Vianney Catholic Church for the rest of the Evening.   We Love Spring Carnivals, after the Sun Sets there's nothing quite like a Carnival Atmosphere in fact!   With Rides and Midways lit up with Carnival Lights, Live Entertainment, Good Food and Good Friends!

Believe it or not I took no Images during the Carnival... since the Kiddos and their Posse of Friends were moving like greased lightening and my shutter speed couldn't possibly keep up!  *LOL*

The fact that they languished so long and so intently at the Ranch Tour was quite Surprising actually, I don't think I've ever seen them be so still for so long!  *Smiles*

And not being hustled quickly thru a Tour, or having to take it with a bunch of Tourists or Impatient People was quite Refreshing I must say.  We like to linger in Old Houses and soak it all in and Imagine.

And hear about all of the Interesting Stories of those who once Occupied the Property.  I thought it Quaint that when they were stripping the layers of Old damaged Wallpaper off the walls of the Nursery they discovered that inbetween Make-Overs in the Past, the Family had allowed the Children to do Artwork on the Raw Walls... and then Papered over it.   So, they kept several areas of the Artwork Exposed before they painted the room, I liked that touch.

And who doesn't like peeking into a dusty Attic?!  *Winks*

Now there's an Antique Typewriter Carriage that you can type anything of any size upon!  *LOL*

The walk-in Safe of the Ranch's Office was quite large... as big as a Bank's of that Era.

And then there was the Hidden Ball Safe behind a Secret Panel in the Wall!!!  How Cool is that?!?

In fact, since the Family had Occupied the Ranch continuously until it was turned over to the City as a Historical Living History Museum, much remained intact and undisturbed without being pillaged and plundered or vandalized, which is Wonderful.

And rather remarkable given the Inner City and Urban sprawl had grown up around the Old Homestead over the Years as well.

Well I do Hope you've Enjoyed coming on the Virtual Tour with us my Friends... Blessings from the Arizona Desert...

Dawn... The Bohemian


  1. Those drapes will be quite outstanding! Anxious to see pictures of your completed Studio inside and out!

  2. That Cambodian sandstone architectural element is literally fantastic! And I'll admit that non-taxidermery fan that I am, I'd still be tempted by the "domestic goat" mount, if only to haul it around until someone could tell me more about the breed. I do like goats; however, our family raised only respectable Nubians -- which that critter was not!

  3. OK. I'm seriously worried about you. What's going on? It's been a L-O-N-G time w/o a post!

  4. Hey Dawn! Where are you? I'm having withdrawals! Hope you and yours are O.K.!


A life touched by God always ends in touching others. - Erwin McManus

I will love the light for it shows me the way, yet I will endure the darkness for it shows me the stars. - Og Mandino (1923-1996)

For creativity to flourish one should try to look at everything as though it were being seen for the first or the last time. - Quote from "A Thousand Paths To Creativity" by David Baird

Is what I'm about to say an improvement on silence? ~ Galen Pearl