It has been a very long two weeks here in California and I find myself (of course) in the midst of many, many a new project.
I spent much of the last week on an extended road trip with M. Benjamin and his family--the two of us first travelled north to his family home in Meadow Valley where I was introduced to the many new additions on the ranch, including Tuck, the bouncy new Airedale Terrier puppy, and the beginnings of a herd of Scottish Highland cattle, a bull, five cows and a little heifer. Amongst the many project in which the two of us are engaged this summer is the restoration of a little cabin in a beautiful ravine that has sadly gone to seed since it was built in the 1950's--but we were able to finally set up M. Benjamin's antique rope bed in the loft and spend a couple of cold, stormy nights there. Pictures later in the summer as the restoration continues.
The bulk of our time, however, was occupied on the long drive between Meadow Valley and Loma Linda, with the mission to see Emily, M. Benjamin's sister, graduate from dental school. We stopped a couple of days in Bishop for the--can you believe this even exists?--annual Mule Days festival, and spent much time with Emily and her fiancé, Gabe, once we reached the valley.
I'm currently working on an illustrated journal for this trip, which I may post in increments once it's finished. Thus far, it's titled "Marrying In" and shall hopefully serve as an interesting memento of this very interesting weekend.
I'm still sorting through those old family photos I went on about a couple of months ago, and here are some new scans:
This last photo, and the photo of the woman with the draft horses may be my favourites. I love the bleakness of the North Dakota landscapes--all my life I have been drawn to this bleak, muted, solitary aesthetic in all things visual, poetic, and musical, and I'm starting to think that it may run in my blood.
Off to work on the journal now, but I must shamelessly plug a new coffee shop in Modesto--The Serrano Social Club has finally opened on J Street after years in the works, and it's better than anything else in town! Coffee and pastries are superb, the baristas are awesome, talented guys, and their already hanging art and planning live music. Any Motowners reading this should check it out. You will not be disappointed.