Laying Hens

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The two older reddish hens, the Buff Orpingtons, have started laying! Fran is getting one or two eggs a day regularly now. Sophia’s hen, Layla, the white Plymouth Rock, is a bit younger and hasn’t started laying yet.

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Here’s Justin feeding them some chicken scratch.

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Along with the excitement of finding an egg or two every day of our visit, we’re enjoying the spring grass covering the hill.

I also got a new pipe corral and a 50′ round pen where we can work the horses before riding them, so it’s starting to look more like a real horse operation.

Here are two views out by the corrals, looking toward our neighbor, Robert Poole’s, place. He’s known around the Redlands and Santa Monica farmers’ markets for his fine produce and his youngberries, in particular.

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Now here’s a photo of me on Sophia’s buckskin Appy pony, Allie, and Justin on our sweet 25-year-old Arabian, Syri.

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In The Kitchen

Here is a view of Mt. San Bernardino, framed by a triangle of window in the kitchen. It was just after Christmas when the snow level was unusually
low–an inspiring view to wake up to.

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This is a view over the vintage, Colonial-style maple table I grew up with. The copper, farm-style fixture is also the original. I had it reworked by Hye Lighting, a great lighting and lighting repair store in Tarzana.

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This is a print I really like, though it was packed away in the guest house throughout my childhood. I never remember seeing it until I cleaned out the house and guest house.

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My theory–or maybe it’s more a fantasy–is that it belonged to my father’s side of the family, the Owens, and was perhaps one of the few things they kept when they sold Shady Lane Ranch in Holt County, Nebraska and moved their belongings to Loma Linda, California by truck and trailer in the early 50s.

I’m not even sure if it’s a print or a watercolor! If anyone can tell from this photo, let me know!

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Storybook Book Ranches In The Valley

Note:

I apologize that the photos to accompany the text did not upload as planned. I only just realized it!–to see the text, but with the house photos I refer to, please go to my blog “Tarzana Is My Heroine,” where the full post can be found: http://tarzanaismyheroine.wordpress.com/2013/01/08/storybook-ranch-homes/.

Thanks and sorry for the confusion! — Coco

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Here are a selection of storybook ranch homes I’ve seen out in Encino, where we live the rest of the time when we’re not in Redlands. These homes epitomize what my favorite retro home blog, Retro Renovation (http://retrorenovation.com), would call “mid-century modest” homes.

Fortunately not too many of these homes have been torn down to build Spanish-style McMansions–as happened to one very lovely barn-red storybook ranch home on the corner of Hayvenhurst and Adlon a few years ago. If any of you are familiar with Encino, you may remember the house I’m talking about.

I love the pale yellow exterior of this first house below, and of course the diamond-pane windows on the garage too!

Look at the mix of horizontal and vertical batten boards here (behind the white picket fence!)

I love storybook ranches in barn or carriage red with white trim

Look at the little dovecote tucked just under the eaves

This house below is so attractive with its row of diamond-paned windows, pale green exterior, and the peeling bark of the gum or melaleuca tree in front.

I have in mind starting a project of photographing of every storybook ranch in Redlands–and of course I have a special interest in the ones around Caballero Lane and Crescent Ave., since these were the houses my dad helped Ed Caballero build!

Maybe you can help?

New Years + Fleur de Lis

Happy New Year from Tiger Tail Terrace!

I’ve had a cold, so my first short outing since 2012 was to have coffee with Patti, a family friend since childhood. She and her family live in the house my dad and Grandpa Plinke built for my grandparents a mile away from where dad later built our house.

Tiger Tail Terrace was built from the same blueprints Ed Caballero drew up, except that he made our kitchen somewhat bigger.

Patti and I had coffee at what used to be Cafe Royale and is now called Cafe Linne, in the Fox Theatre building.

Here are a couple of views of the building from across the street

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After coffee, I peeked into Fleur de Lis Gift and Home, a charming, cozy shop just a few doors down from the cafe. The boutique is owned by Monika, who is also an interior designer. The store carries fun accessories like costume jewelry and handbags, as well as stylish items for the home (many with a Parisian or country French theme).

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Here are some things Monika features

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I’m not a big shopper, but I get a kick out of the hand-written sign that’s always posted on the sidewalk out front. It reads, “Your husband called and said ‘Buy anything you want’.” I like that she notes, “Shop Local” and “Shop Small” too!

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It got too dark to take any more photos, so I came back again today and this time am having a tasty basil, pesto, and mozzarella sandwich at Cafe Linne.

Then I got this pic of the Fleur de Lis entrance in the noontime light

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You can visit Fleur de Lis at 115 Cajon St. in Redlands.

(Store: 909 798-5363)

Ten Acres, Two Horses, And A Billion Termites

About three years ago, I first noticed some mud casings covering dead sticks and weeds on the ground on the back part of our ten acres. I couldn’t figure out what kind of creature was making the casings, because I never saw anything inside of them.

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I saw and more of the mud tubes without ever seeing what might be making them. Until it rained two weeks ago.

I was out looking at the terraces on one side of my hill with my neighbor, Gary, because we’d had problems with run-off from my hill for the first time ever.

Gary had commented how bare the hill was, but I never connected that with all the mud tubes I’d been seeing. I poked at the tubes like I always do, and for the first time saw little critters–little, white grub-like insects. My neighbor Gary and I both said “Termites!”

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He knew they were some kind of subterranean termite, because they were living in the soil far away from any building. I had no idea termites could live in the ground and eat woody dead plant matter.

Here are some examples of their handiwork

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Here are mud tubes that the termites have made over the stems of living buckwheat shrubs

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I started scouring the Internet for information and found images of something that looks most like what I have. They live in soil, make mud tubes, and are common in Texas grassland. The species has the common name desert termite.

I haven’t had a definitive ID of the kind of termite these are yet, but I’ve talked to a couple of experts through San Bernardino County Agricultural Extension and to an entomology professor at UC Riverside. They may be Western Subterranean termites, or something else, but what they are is a mixed bag:

On the one hand, these termites aerate and help create soil, like earthworms do. On the other hand, they devour old roots and plant matter, so they take away things that hold soil in place, and therefore are contributing to erosion–at least on my terraced hill.

Here is a close-up of the critters, for you amateur entomologists out there

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The only remedies I’ve heard so far are spraying or simply harrowing the soil to disrupt the nests (one colony can contain millions of termites!). disrupting the tubes allows ants, their natural predator, and the elements to get at them.

Stay tuned, and I’ll keep you updated on the battle with the termites for Tiger Tail Terrace!

State St. & 5th

This weekend we made a quick trip out to the house, but ended up spending the night. Sunday morning we went downtown to, for the adults, try Augie’s Coffee House, the new cafe and roaster on 5th Street in Redlands. We had a good macchiato made with their house espresso.

Once we were awake, we took the kids to Martha Green’s for a hearty, homestyle breakfast. Their mueslix with pecans, chunks of grapes and melon, and heavy cream is “the bomb,” as my friend Maeve would say.

Here are some scenes from State St., which was the original Main St. of Redlands long before the (now defunct) Redlands Mall went in, let alone the much newer Citrus Plaza shopping center that’s anchored by Target, Bed, Bath & Beyond, and Barnes & Noble.

The old ads on the side of the building facing the little plaza are originals, restored after they they came to light when a couple of buildings came down to create the little park here.

This downtown beautification and redevelopment project happened after I moved away, so enjoying this spot with my own kids isn’t a flashback for me–it’s more like discovering a cool new spot in my own backyard!

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Here is the Christmas tree at the corner of State St. and 5th.

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A big planter at the same corner with an old citrus packing label as decoration. The citrus label motif recurs throughout downtown and is a quaint historical touch.

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A look inside Martha Green’s restaurant where they also sell some neat reproduction citrus label gifts such as coasters, trivets, and soaps. I bought a few coasters for the house!

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Goodbye, Thanksgiving

We enjoyed five days of gorgeous, warm, clear fall weather for our Thanksgiving vacation at the house. The gold and yellow leaves on the deciduous trees seemed to magnify the sunlight’s brilliancy and to give it depth.

Here is the view from the kitchen and front yard, looking up toward the San Bernardino Mountains, with Mt. San Bernardino being the peak to the left. Though it appears to be the tallest, the mountain farthest back on the right that looks grayish white is Mt. San Gorgonio, or Grayback, the tallest mountain in Southern California.

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Here are a few more scenes that capture the rich light….

A corner of the master bedroom, with afternoon sunshine (the little stuffed owl on the chair is from Pier 1).

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Looking west through our old persimmon tree (no fruit this year) and its last leaves.

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With sunset coming on, looking across at what we called the Lippmann place, built in the early 20th century to the same plans as a villa in Italy.

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And back to the mountain view, now late afternoon.

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Happy Thanksgiving From Tiger Tail Terrace!

We’re spending our first Thanksgiving here in Redlands since my parents passed away and I finished redoing the house. We have my husband Nabil’s parents with us, and also our good friends Dominique and Terence from Portland. They’re soaking up all the Southern California sunshine they can before returning to Oregon.

We pretty much did nothing but cook and wash dishes from about 7 a.m. until about 8 p.m., when we finally finished our dessert, a Rustic Apple Tarte (recipe from Bon Appetit, Dec. 2001 issue).

Whew! Remind me to spend Thanksgiving in Hawaii next year and have Thanksgiving dinner at the lovely Sheraton Moana Surfrider in Waikiki!

Since it’s only Thanksgiving for another five minutes, I’ll close with a few photos from a lovely day.

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Some fixings for the big dinner

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Barely sunrise and already cooking!

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The beautiful centerpiece my in-laws brought

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The Rustic Apple Tarte–with vanilla bean, star anise, cinnamon stick, and cloves

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My son, Justin, and his grandpa. I love these round, autumn-leaf placemats I found at Bed, Bath, and Beyond

New Living-Room Look

With lots of help from Steve, I’ve been furnishing the living room, the last room in the house to be finished. The furniture is all new.

Those of you who remember the living room with French Provincial furniture and flocked celadon wallpaper may be shocked, but I wanted it updated to a more casual, family- and dog-friendly style.

I had the idea of doing kind of a mod, Warhol-type photo series to hang somewhere, and Steve found a 60s portrait of my mom when she did her hair in a marcel wave, and he worked out lots of great color combinations.

Then he ordered three 16″ x 20″ prints of the portraits on canvas. Here is the result!

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(Photo credit: Steve Eubanks)

Along with property management, estate sales, and decorating, Steve does beautiful photography and restores photographs. You can see his gorgeous work on Facebook at his Aperture On The World page (www.facebook.com/Apertureontheworld).

He also recently finished scanning and restoring hundreds of old Kodachrome slides and photos that my parents and uncle left behind at the house.

Now I have the photos and slides all digitized to preserve and make them accessible for others in the family to enjoy (and who has a slide projector lying around these days?)

Thanks, Steve!

Redlands Sunset

I took these two photos as twilight began when we were at the house three weeks ago. The view up to the San Bernardino mountains is always sublime at that time of day (on a clear day). Mt. San Bernardino is the large peak to the left and Mt. San Gorgonio or “Greyback”–actually the tallest peak in southern California–is far at the back to the right.

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A little later toward sunset, the view north out over the valley and up Cajon Pass is inspiring too. Sad, but the layer of smog does make the sunset colors more dramatic — it actually looks like a mai-tai, doesn’t it?

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