Monday, December 31, 2012

Last Day of 2012

My grandson Tom was 20 years old on December 28. Hard to believe he is that old already!! He came down with his parents and they took me with them to Nagame's in Merced to celebrate his birthday. It was Tom's choice of where to go for dinner. His favorite restaurant is also mine. I enjoyed the visit and the dinner.
On Sunday, December 23rd, Kathryn and Jack invited family to a potluck at Castle Vista's clubhouse. It was their annual Christmas potluck for the Richards family. It's always good to see everyone. See more pictures of that day here.
Ernie and Diane invited Aunt Ernestine and I to dinner on Friday the 14th. The above gingerbread house was the centerpiece. Every year they make a gingerbread house from scratch and each time it's different. I took several pictures of it from front to back. You can see them by clicking on the link for the potluck pictures.
On Christmas Day, my sister's granddaughter invited me to join them for dinner. I wanted to take some pictures, but my little camera didn't cooperate for some reason. Too bad. I wanted to get a picture of little Richy with his new guitar. He just turned six years old earlier this month. He is quite a gentleman and a wonderful host at his tender age. My sister and I were quite amused and very surprised at how grown-up he is.
It's been a busy fun Christmas Season.
I hope everyone has a good year ahead of them.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Poinsettia Farm in Hughson

Today Frances took Ernestine, Helen and I to the Poinsettia Farm in Hughson. The plants were so beautiful. I still prefer the red ones, but they had a few other colors left. Originally they had 60,000 plants for sale but today they were down to 3,000.
Aunt Ernestine is looking over the plants to see which ones she wanted to buy.
Frances is helping Ernestine decide which ones would be the best to purchase.
Here is a double-decker wagon load of poinsettias going out the door. Aunt Ernestine said some of the churches buy their poinsettias here.
Here Helen, Ernestine and Frances are relaxing with a cup of hot Apple Cider before taking our plants to the counter to make the sale.
I'm not very good with keeping Poinsettias alive, so I picked out a dwarf lemon tree to grow in a large pot. Frances said the Meyer Lemon is very good, so I took her advice and picked out an Improved Meyer with lots of blossoms on it. It sure smells good.
Only thing I'm worried about; on the tag it says it needs protection when temperatures fall below 40 degrees. Might have to find something at the store to put around it.
From the Poinsettia Farm, we went to the Fruit Vineyard for lunch. It was a fun day. Aunt Ernestine said let's do it again next year.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

WHS December meeting

Tuesday, December 4, the Winton Historical Society had their Christmas potluck during their December meeting. It was a smaller crowd than last year, but it was fun.
In the picture above is Rosalie, Ida Mae and Agnes.
Next around the table was Carole, Don, Avanell and Ivaleine. The picture is a little out-of-focus. I don't know what happened here. I must have focused on the flag, which is cropped out of the picture.
Next is Wilene, Marilyn, Hank, Helen and Carolyn. We had lots of good food. Enough for twice as many people. I tried to take a little from each bowl, but then couldn't eat it all. I was really stuffed!!
A few of us got there in the morning to fold the newsletters and get them ready to mail. They went out that afternoon.
It's always a big relief to finally get them mailed out. I'm hoping to have stories earlier next time and be a little more on schedule. The next newsletter will be the January/February issue. We have 29 members who have not paid their dues and they were not sent a newsletter. I had to drop 29 members last year also for not being current with their dues. I'm sure some of these will renew their membership in the society like they did last year. We always get new members during the year and so the membership increases little by little each year. We currently have 210 paid up memberships (households). We're happy to have that many.
A lot of them are out-of-state.
This Saturday, some of the members of the society will be at the Christmas Bazaar at the Winton Community Hall to sell the "Winton Centennial" recipe books ($15.00) and the Souvenir Mugs.
Pictured above is Carole with the festive packages to put in the mugs. In each package is instant chocolate mix, tied with a Christmasy red bell. Very pretty and will make nice little Christmas gifts. Carole did a beautiful job.
So, come out to the Winton Community Hall this Saturday, December 8 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Other people will be there to sell their wares.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Fall Colors

The leaves on my little fruit trees turned yellow. They were so pretty, I had to take their picture. Good thing. Because the next day, Joe and Keith were here mowing lawns.
This was going to be the last mowing of the season, so first Keith blew the yellow leaves off the trees before they were picked up by the mower. Most of the leaves on the cherry trees are still green so he left those alone.
I learned something new the other day. I asked John Esau when I should fertilize the little fruit trees. He said after all the leaves fall off. Otherwise the leaves suck up the fertilizer and and then they fall off and there goes your fertilizer.
He uses the "Tree and Vine" fertilizer that he buys in Ballico. I still have a lot of 16-16-16 that I bought in Merced, so I will use that up before buying the "Tree and Vine." John puts a gallon of that fertilizer around his full-grown trees, but he said to put about a pint around my small trees. So, that's the plan. He will come prune my little trees again this January to be sure they get off to a good start. They need to be shaped properly.
Here is a pretty flower I found at The Greenery in Turlock. It's a Echnacea, commonly known as a Coneflower. This red one is named "Sombrero Salsa Red." It reminds me of a Poinsettia. So much prettier than the more common purple Coneflower. I replanted it in a larger pot. Someday when I get rid of all the Burmuda grass I will plant it in the ground.
Another thing I'll have to do is dig up the flower plants around the fruit trees. Think of how much fertilizer they suck up. I like having flowers around the trees, but I guess they'll have to go.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Fall Time

This is what my Fuyu Persimmon tree looked like in Merced. Every year it was loaded with fruit. I miss that tree. Not to mention the cherry trees and the peach trees and the nectarine. I have the same varieties planted here in Atwater, but the trees are still small.
My sister and I got some persimmons the other day and we were very happy to get them. Carolyn made a Fuyu Bundt Cake today and she said it was really delicious. I'll have to try it too sometime. You can find the recipe here.Carolyn said it's easy to make.
She also made some cookies from the soft (Hachiyas)persimmons.

We enjoyed the fund raiser at the Winton Mennonite School last Saturday. We thought about bidding on items in the auction, but everything went too high for us. We did enjoy our lunch and some candy. It got really cold before the auction was over, so we left a little early. Very interesting afternoon. I did take a few pictures, you can see them at flickr.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Winton Mennonite School

Fund Raiser for the Winton Mennonite School on Central Avenue in Winton.
This Saturday, November 10, 2012. Several Food Booths will be set up where you can choose what you want to eat. Starts at 1:00 p.m. The auction starts at 3:00 p.m.
Come out and support the local Mennonite School in Winton.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Dorothy's Dolls

This is Dorothy, she attends the Atwater United Methodist Church and has donated hand-made dolls for the church bazaar every year since she moved to Atwater. I asked her to pose with the cute clown doll that I bought at the bazaar.
Dorothy celebrated her 103rd birthday this year. She was born in Ohio to Frank and Maude Brown on September 20, 1909. In 1929, she married Fred Buckingham. From Ohio, they moved to Porterville, CA where Dorothy worked in the State Mental Hospital for 17 years.
After retirement, Dorothy and her husband moved to Hawaii. They lived there for 12 years. Fred died in Hawaii in 1981. A couple years after that Dorothy moved to Sacramento to be near her daughter. She lived there for 20 years. The daughter moved to Texas later to be near her daughter and that's when Dorothy moved to Atwater to be near her son.
Both Dorothy's son and daughter were born in Ohio. Dorothy has sewn all her life, making her own clothes and sewed for others. She doesn't do that anymore. Dorothy has been in Atwater for 3 1/2 years. This was her last year of sewing dolls for the church bazaar. She is going to retire. I am so happy to have one of her dolls.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Bazaar Items

Here are some of the Iris plants I took to the Atwater Methodist Church today for Saturday's Bazaar. I decided to tape the picture directly on the container.
More of the Iris plants at the Bazaar.
Dorothy, our 104-year-old church member made these dolls and I think the monkeys also.
I hope we have a lot of people come by tomorrow. Sounds like fun. There are a lot of other items for sale. They were just starting to set up when I was there today. There will be baked goods also and a lunch available starting at around 10:00 a.m.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Bazaar This Saturday

I took this picture of the Atwater United Methodist Church with my new camera. Although I am still in the automatic mode, I think it's a better picture than I could get with my "point and shoot" camera. I really like having a zoom lens and also a single lens reflex.
The church is located on the corner of Bellevue and Linden Street. It's across from the Jantz Cafe, and in the background you can see the Brooks Ranch Resturant.
This Saturday, November 3rd, the United Methodist Women are having a Bazaar in the Fellowship Hall from 8:00 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Everyone is invited to come and browse the many crafts, plants, bake goods, etc. Come out and do some Christmas shopping.
All proceeds from the sale is for mission projects around the world. Stay for a lunch of soup, sandwich and pie, lunch available from around 10:00 a.m.
This view is from the Linden Street side, showing the offices. The front door to the church is to the left. There is another door to the church from the Bellevue parking lot side, which is where I always park. The Fellowship Hall can be reached from either the Linden parking lot or the Bellevue parking lot.
Come by and say hi. We're a friendly group. I'm taking 10 Iris plants that I divided a few months ago. A picture display will let you see what the flowers look like. Ten pictures, 10 plants, no duplicates. $3.00 each is a bargain considering what some of them cost from the grower.

Monday, October 15, 2012


I had an exciting day Saturday. My friend Pat drove us to the Camera Center on 9th Street in Modesto. I finally decided to splurge and buy a new digital single lens reflex camera. I've been thinking about that for a few years, but couldn't justify it to myself. What would I take pictures of?
I started taking pictures of the tombstones at the Winton District Cemetery, but I didn't feel that was a good enough reason. Then I thought about the Winton Old Timers. Every year I am at a table either selling something or collecting dues for the Winton Historical Society. I would like to mingle with the people and see who all is there. I don't get a chance to visit with the out-of-town people that I rarely get to see. In fact I don't even know who all is there until I see them in a picture that Norm has taken of them. So, having a nice camera and helping with taking pictures was my excuse for investing in a new camera.
Another reason, I am the editor of the "Winton Hometown News" for the Winton Historical Society. I asked one Old Timer for his memories of the good-old-days in Winton, he said he and his friend talk about them at the Winton Old Timers, but that I am never around. So, that is going to change next year!!! Yipee.
The camera I bought is a Nikon D5100 and the lens is a 18mm to 270mm zoom. Quite a long focal length and I read some negative things about that. The pictures may not be as high quality as with an 18 to 55 for instance. But you have to outweigh that with the convenience of not having to change lens if you need both a wide angle and a telephoto.
I don't expect to be professional, but I do like good quality pictures.
The first picture was taken at the 18mm, wide angle setting. The second picture was at 50mm and the third one at 100mm. I like a little better depth-of-field than what you see in the 3rd picture. Guess I'll have to take it out of "automatic" and use the manuel setting for a smaller aperture opening. The last picture was taken at the high end of 270mm telephoto setting. I was standing in the same spot for each picture. Just trying it out and see what I can do with it. The pictures come out at 4928 X 3264 pixels, which is a large file. I cut it way down before uploading these. I know I have a lot to learn.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Winton Old Timers 2012

This is one of 105 pictures that Norm Giesbrecht took at the Winton Old Timers reunion on September 30.
You can see the rest of them at flickr. We had ten 90+ guests this year. There were several out-of-state people there; from Idaho, Kansas, Nevada, Arizona and Florida. And maybe others. Those are the ones I know about.
I was collecting dues for the Winton Historical Society again this year. Someone else will take my place next year, because I get my wish to be able to mingle with the people and take pictures. Norm will be there too so we'll be sure to have some good shots.
I'm really excited about buying a new digital single lens reflex camera and practice with it before the next Old Timers reunion next September.
What will I practice on? Well, the tombstones at the Winton District Cemetery; my cat Maggie, not sure what else. Maybe a close-up of a flower or two. Anyway, it sounds like lots of fun and I can hardly wait to get my hands on an SLR camera. (It's going to be a Nikon D5100.)

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Winton Old Timers -- Good Time Had By All

I managed to take a picture of the table set up at the Winton Old Timers last Sunday. This year, the placemats had pictures of the old original Winton School on Walnut Avnue. The focus was on the Winton School because it was 100 years old this year. The original building (2 school rooms of it) was completed in late 1912 and after Thanksgiving vacation, the students picked up their books and walked from "the garage" on the corner of Santa Fe and Winton Way to the new school building on Walnut Avenue, just west of the current Winton School District Office.

Later I was kept pretty busy taking dues for the Winton Historical Society. My cousin, Norm Giesbrecht was there with his professional DSLR camera and he was our official photographer again this year. Norm does a great job and lets me post the pictures on flickr each year. Norm also takes pictures at weddings, so he has a lot of experience. I don't have the pictures from 2012 yet, but you can find pictures from the previous years here.
All the pictures are given to Randy Heller each year on a CD and he shows them at the Winton Old Timers luncheon on the overhead screen. Everyone seems to enjoy that.
We had a good turn-out. Could have been better, but some of our regulars were not able to make it this year. We did have new people though, and that was fun.
Rosalie was in charge and she knows how to keep everything organized. Randy was the MC for the day and all went well.
Leona Eason was the oldest woman there at 101 years old. She looked great and was more spry than the other 90+ seniors. Her brother, Curt Jantz was again the oldest man. Another brother was visiting from Kansas. I didn't get his name, (probably Chester) and although younger than his siblings, he was also over 90 years old.
Also over 90 this year was Wilma Arnold, Mildred (Wedell) Dysart, Patricia Olmos, Edna Gilbert and two more whose names slip my mind at the moment.
On display were Winton School class pictures blown up to 8x12. You can see them in the background in the picture below.
The school has class pictures (not group pictures) from the 1960s, they were in binders and people were looking through those as well. One lady said she wished she had more time with those because her children were in them. I believe I have most if not all of them on my computer. Maybe we'll blow some of those up for next year. It'd be nice to know which ones people wanted to see.
Here is Ivaleine Cooper at the school books display table. She had first grade readers from every decade beginning with the McGuffy books, the Dick and Jane books, and up to the present.
It was a good day. Everyone we talked to said they had a good time.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

September 30 -- Winton Old Timers

This is the sign Randy Heller had made for last year's Winton Old Timers' Reunion. This year the luncheon will be Sunday, September 30. It's always the last Sunday in September. Registration and visiting begins at 10:00 a.m. Tickets, $8.00 each are sold at the door. No reservations are taken. Lunch is served at 1:00 p.m.
This all takes place at the Winton Middle School on Cypress Avenue, between Almond Avenue and Gertrude.
This year the focus is on Winton School. The original school building was completed 100 years ago. The Monday after Thanksgiving vacation in November, 1912, the students picked up their books and walked to the new school building on Walnut Avenue. Prior to that, school was held in "the garage" on the corner of Santa Fe and Winton Way.
The Old Timers committee is working on displays to remind us all of our school days in the good-old-days in Winton. Thirty-three class pictures have been enlarged and will be on display. Most of these were taken after 1950, so these are not in the "Memories of Winton 1911-1950" history book and have not been seen by a lot of people.
School books and other items related to grammar school will also be on display.
Members from the Winton Historical Society will be there to collect the $10.00 annual dues which includes the "Winton Hometown News" newsletter. The newsletter is printed and mailed every other month with stories from Winton residents and those who used to live in Winton. The $10.00 dues covers the months of October 1, 2012 through September 30, 2013.
If you are new to the Winton Historical Society, the last two years of the newsletter will be available for $1.00 each. Older newsletters are offered free of charge. Not all are still available, but a CD with all 38 newslettes in the PDF format can be purchased for $5.00 each. The CD is searchable with the Adobe Acrobat Reader which is a free download.
There are still some "Winton Centennial" recipe books availabe for $15.00 each. A wonderful gift for anyone on your gift list.
It's full of 650 GOOD recipes, 9 vintage pictures and information about your hometown.
Also available at a reduced price are the souvenir mugs with a picture of the Winton Depot. They now sell for $4.00 each or 4 for $15.00. A bargin price for sure.
A few "Memories of Winton 1911-1950" history books will be available for $35.00 each.
Plan to attend the Winton Old Timers reunion and enjoy visiting with friends from Winton. It's always a pleasant surprise to see who shows up. Many are out-of-town people you don't expect to see.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Winton Old Timers Coming UP

This is a picture of "Black Magic Woman" that I took in 2008 at the Superstition Iris Gardens in Cathey's Valley. It was too expensive back then. $50.00 for one plant. This year the price was down to $9.00, so I bought it and now a small start of it is planted in my back yard. It's exciting to have new and beautiful Iris flowers.
Yesterday was the Winton Historical Society's meeting. We meet on the first Tuesday of the month at 1:30 in the CLEO office. Six of us met for lunch first at the Tequila Cafe. The meeting was fun, had a bigger than usual crowd. Nice to see everyone.
I have uploaded more pictures from the Winton District Cemetery recently. There are 721 pictures at flickr now. Click here to browse through them. The photos are also separated into sets by letters of the alphabet. The pictures in each set are now alphabetized.
Some of the photos have a little more information under them.
There will be more photos added each month. I hope the pictures will be helpful to genealogists, especially those not living in the area.
We have one more committee meeting for the Winton Old Timers before the luncheon on the last Sunday of this month, September 30. If you're a Winton Old Timer, or just remember the good times and your good friends from Winton, come join us.
We meet at the Winton Middle School on Cypress Avenue, between Almond and Gertrude. Registration starts at 10:00 a.m. Lunch tickets sold at the door. $8.00, no reservations. Eat at 1:00 p.m.
The tall Cypress trees in the picture are right across the street from the school.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Bunco Night

The 4th Wednesday of the month is our usual Bunco night here in Rancho Grande MH Park; except for November and December, then it may be a different night so it doesn't interfere with the holidays. We play in the clubhouse.
Betty is the hostess for August. She decorated the food table with a pretty purple table cloth, lavender napkins and purple flowers.
These four ladies started out at Table number one. From the left is Millie, Lillian, Joan and Marge. Marge and her various partners had a lot of wins, so she was able to stay at Table #1 for a long time.
Starting out at Table #2 is Yvonne, Barbara, Fran and Lorraine.
These four ladies rushed over to Table #3 because they said there is only one way to go from there: UP.
From the left is Betty, Pat, the other Yvonne and the other Barbara.
Of the 12 women who play, 9 of us live in the park. It's a good group of friends. We don't really play for money. It's only $4.00 to play once a month. There are money prizes for the most Buncos, the most wins, (1st, 2nd and 3rd place), the most losses and whoever has Rover at the end of the night. That red blur in Barbara's hand is Rover.
These pictures didn't turn out too great!! Sorry Ladies.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Estate Sale Committee Bar BQ

Earlier this month George and Sue hosted a Barbeque in their back yard in Winton for the Estate Sale Committee from the Atwater United Methodist Church.
Their huge yard was the perfect place to have such a gathering.
We wandered around in the yard and found fruit trees of all kinds, peaches, apricots, nectarines,cherries, several kinds of citrus and even a walnut tree.
The food table was filled with salads, beans, veggies, beverages and a desert table.
Our host, George, in the bright blue shirt cooked the hamburgers and hotdogs on the grill. Al and Don are on the left.
Some of the guests visited in the back yard before the food was ready.
Sitting on the patio by the pool is Lily, Leesa and Kathy. The tall sunflowers were very pretty.
Caught our hostess, Sue as she wandered around making sure everyone was having a good time.
Here is Juanita, Wilene and Diane enjoying their delicious meal.
After eating their dinner, people lined up with bowl in hand to get the delicious homemade ice cream.
And here is Don dishing up the wonderful ice cream he made that afternoon.
A great ending to a delightful evening.
I didn't get a picture of everyone. I think there were about 30 people there. The weather was perfect, not too warm. It was a beautiful setting by the pool with lots of pretty flowers.
We all had a great time.
Thank you George and Sue for hosting the annual barbeque this year.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Winton Tombstone Photos at flickr

This is a picture of the Fountain of Serenity located in front of the office at the Winton District Cemetery. I hadn't been to the Winton Cemetery for about 3 years, so this was the first time I saw this fountain. It's a very nice addition to the cemetery.
For quite a few years I've had pictures of tombstones on my computer that I used to upload to the California Tombstone Project, but they quit updating that website several years ago.
I was disappointed because I still had a lot of pictures to send them.
I thought about doing a website, but decided that was too difficult so decided to upload them to flickr. I have a pro account at flickr but didn't want to mix up the tombstone pictures with the Winton Old Timer pictures and others.
I set up a second pro account under the name of Winton Historical Society and uploaded the tombstone pictures there.
You can see them here. There are more than 350 pictures there so far. More will be added each month. A few of the photos will be replaced with better pictures. (I hope) There is a set (folder) for each letter of the alphabet with surnames beginning with that letter to make it easier to find the name you are looking for.
Here is a link directly to the sets. After clicking on the set, you can click on detail and view them that way instead of clicking on each individual picture.

I may start taking requests, but I would only go to the cemetery once a month. So, it may take a while to get the picture you want uploaded to flickr. The email you can use is

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

August 1, 2012

I couldn't resist this cute cup and saucer flower pot that I found at Atwater's Wal-Mart. The little Begonia plant needed to be
re-potted anyway.
I've been enjoying the Olympics, especially the gymnastics. The five little U.S. girls are so cute and did so well, getting the Gold Medal.
I've been updating my mother's side of the family. Cousins sent in their updated information by email and I typed it into Family Tree Maker; making family group sheets and descendant charts and sending them back out. It's been very interesting. I'm glad a couple of my cousins suggested it. I'm going to send an updated gedcom file to the California Mennonite Historical Society next week so we can get our updated information in the next (Grandma 7) CD. They plan to have the new CD available September first.
Today is a milestone for one of my granddaughters. She got her first Radiation treatment today. Finally. She's had a long wait, partly because her health insurance didn't approve the type of treatment that she needs. Too bad doctors aren't allowed to make these decisions.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Sunday July 22

As I sit here and type this, the thunder is very loud. Lots of lightning too. I didn't expect this. At first I thought the noise was the neighbor taking the garbarge can to the road, but wondered why it was so loud.
Earlier it was hot. After church today, Pat invited me to go with her to Alden Lane Nursery in Livermore.
The nursery was huge and spread out. Today was special with artists set up outside. There were painters with pictures and cards they had painted; several jewelry booths; pottery and sculptures.
See the large tree behind Pat. The next picture is a close-up of it.
It's a very interesting tree and through the archway was an area for children to do some painting or crafts. Pat and I loved this nursery. I found a red Penstemon plant that I've been looking for for two years and also bought a Coreopsis with a large single yellow flower.
It was really a fun afternoon.
The sculpture the man is working on is very impressive. Very clear detail. People were drawn to his work. He has a webpage.
If this nursery was closer to home, I would go there often!!