A&M Ranch



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A & M Ranch- part 1

Posted on June 10, 2020 at 2:20 PM Comments comments (5)

June 10, 2020 For those of you who have asked about our A & M Ranch, I thought I'd just write about it, (so I don't have to repeat the story each time) :) I realize some of this might be too detailed, but there is so much to this story. First, It's been a faith journey - we never thought we'd be here at this time of our lives.

Part 1:

  • We bought two forty acre parcels back in 2005. That's when I was working FT and we could afford it. Who would have known 6 months later I'd lose my job. Long story short, God is faithful and took care of us in the midst of it all. We bought 2 with the intention of selling one as an nvestment and the other to exhange for a house in the hills.  Then the market crashed in 2008 and it was a tough time. We sold one around 2010. We tried to sell the 2nd parcel three different times.  We looked at property in the hills to exhange, but no luck. Then, we realized we really didn't want to live in the mtns, so we stopped looking. 
  • I  (Marta) was going through some physical challenges back in 2014-2015 and was exhausted and had no intention of building. So we prayed-"God, if you want us to build and have vision for this, then show us and please restore energy and put us both on the same page."  God answered. I started to feel better and we decided to put in a well in 2017 and we stopped trying to sell it. We just decided to keep moving forward one step at a time. 
  • Then there was all the pre building to be done. Because we built 27 years ago we knew what had to be done. First, the well, pump, power, pad, etc, etc.. We put in a power pole, cause PGE just doesn't do that. then it took year and half to get it connected to the pole across the street. 
  • Next was storage. The shipping containers came in 2018 (all storage- including my she shed and arnolds man cave). When he retires, he'll be having those weekly morning coffee time with the guys. 
  • We built the Big Red AG Barn in 2019.
  • We started looking at home styles and builders back in 2018, but didn't decide until 2019. Although arnold wanted to do a lot of it, he is still working ,so we decided to go with Western who built our current home. 
  • May 2020- the foundation and the framing started. 
  • Arnold has been out there on his tractor, working the land. Did I say there is a lot to do? (helpers always appreciated)  He painted his shipping containers and had a cover put in between, so now it looks like another barn.  He still needs to put in a few gates. 
  • This year ,besides the house, we need to finish the alpaca area, solar, electrical connection, fencing around house (for dogs), Barn doors, etc, etc. .
  • 2021- Hopefully put in Landscaping and Patios and work around the big Red barn. 

  • (Oh yeah, in  the midst of the past decade, we were still working, both my parents passed, arnold dad passed, we became empty nesters, two kids got married, we started a few businesses and I got my doctorate), so if you never heard us talk about the land it was because we were focusing on other things :) 
    We thank the Lord for his GOODNESS. It's been a wild ride.Who would have thought we'd be doing this in our 60's? But then again, who would have thought people would be wearing masks and sheltering in place for almost a year. 
  • It's a NEW ERA! 



Posted on February 5, 2020 at 9:40 AM Comments comments (0)

I read a recent article that titled "Ten things your kids don't want". Really?! How sad, they really don't want those tableclothes and china dishes?

I started this decluttering process a few years before my parents passed. They started giving away some of their things. I digitized their photos, before tossing and giving away the prints.After throwing out photos of trees and mountain (places they visited), I realized, my kids woud not to want my  photos of trees and squirrels:) either. So now I have 40 years of photo albums to sort through. I'm giving myself a few years.

A few years ago, I started with my kids photo albums and video's. I took out the photos and tossed the albums.I sorted the photos into 5 piles (one for each of them and one for me) and then bundled them by year. I put them in a pretty box and gave each a box for Christmas. I also sent the videos to be made into DVD's. (although that now seems to be outdated). Step 1 -done! Now, I have to go through my personal 1960-80's albums and digitize. 

Next: The stuff: The kids all have put the things they want to keep in boxes. The hardest thing is getting rid of things they don't want but bring me good memories...like my husbands first ski set, or my first set of dishes when I was single, or moms tea cups, the toy soldiers, barbies, and all the beanie babies.This has been on ongoing emotional process. I've sold stuff, sent much to the thrift stores, repurposed some, and kept a few for future generations.(I actually made a cool wall hanging, like many dream catchers out of my moms doilies).

I know this will take time, but I also know I don't want to move all this stuff when it is time to move. It's time to Let it Go. 

THe Lango Ranch

Posted on January 9, 2020 at 9:40 AM Comments comments (0)

There is something about land I really love. Funny thing is..26 years ago I didn't like moving to the country..but now I really enjoy it. 

Yesterday, while I was out working in the yard, trimming the pomegranate tree, I thought how I much preferred taking care of my land over working on some tedious inside responsibilities.

Maybe it is in my DNA. My grandparents were farmers and had a small vineyard. We called their home 'the ranch". My many cousins and I would go almost every Sunday to play at "the ranch." I loved Thanksgiving dinners, where we'd all sit around a ranch table and eat. My mom was one of 16 kids, so that made for a lot of cousins. There were 40 of us first cousins in all, however, we all didn't show up on Sunday at the same time. We were the baby boomer generation, so there were a few of us born ever year and it was like having siblings. Since, I didn't have sisters, I was grateful for my female cousins to play with who were close to my age. 

One of our favorite experiences was swimming in the ditch. Looking back, I can't believe we did this. In todays standards, people would say it was filthy and no way would they let their kids swim there. However, this is what we did back in the 60's and 70's. There were no concrete walls in the ditch so it was easy to climb out. We always had older cousins with us. (I still believe this is where I built up my immunities as today I rarely get sick.) When the ditch was dry, I would love to go on adventures with one of my cousins. We explored for hidden treasures that were left behind in the ditch. I'd also like to walk out to the railroad tracks where we heard the 'hobo's lived. I dreamt of being a hobo one day to hop on a train and go on an adventure.

Last year, was sad for many of us cousins, as the 'ranch house' was demolished. After the last family member had moved out, the squatters were taking over. It  also was in horrible condition, so it had to come down. A few of us cousins went out and filmed the process. I don't know the future of that land, but my hope it will stay in the family. 

Arnies Alpacas

Posted on January 3, 2020 at 4:10 PM Comments comments (0)

When people visit, they often ask us the story of how we got into getting alpacas. My typical answer is, it was such a random thought/decision. 

Actually when we traveled in the past, we would see signs about alpaca farms and Arnold often seemed interested in them. So we'd visit. Then one day while he was purusing craiglsist he came across someone who was retiring and selling his alpacas. The farm wasn't too far away, so we decided to go look just for fun. 

After some time spent with them, I had a thought, that they would be a great attraction for our airbnb guests. The seller told us they were easy to take care of, just like dogs, feed them and pick up poop, and shear once a year. I thought, oh we could do that, so we made the bold move and bought them October 2017.

We went home and prepared the area for them. We bred the females in hopes to have 'cria's the next year, but sad to say they didn't become pregnant. We moved them to our property the following month and since then they have been a joy to so many visitors. 

Looking back 26 years in the Ranchos

Posted on July 28, 2019 at 8:35 AM Comments comments (0)

It was a hot Central Valley summer day, June 1993 when we moved to Madera Ranchos from Fresno. I was 8 months pregnant and not looking forward to the move. 

We had been looking to buy land for 4 years in the Clovis area; yet had not found anything within in our means. When my friend told me about the "Ranchos", I came out for a visit. It was amazing, within 4 weeks, we found and bought our property. It was a sign from God! This was the place! Although we had all intentions on building a log home (we even had the plans made), life just got too busy for us, and we decided to have "Western" build the home. We made lots of changes to their new 2600 sq ft/6 bd/4 bath design. Who would have known it would be the perfect place for us?

I didn't like living in the country at first.  It was dry and barren and seemed so far from town (Fresno). I was a city girl, I liked concrete sidewalks and places nearby to shop. All my friends were in the city and no one would drive so far (only about 15 minutes) to come see me. It's funny that we thought it was a long commute when people in Los Angeles sometimes commute an hour to work. Early on, we had two phone land lines, one for Madera and Fresno. I thought it was expensive to have two landlines then, however, it was far less than cell phones now! 

Over the years we added trees, a large grass backyard, an upright pool, and then new remodels etc. The house became our "Eagles Nest."

We had another baby and our country home was filled with laughter and fun. The 4 kids all went to the local elemetary school, and later they attended the newly built middle and high school. We enjoyed watching Friday night football games on the berm. The kids grew up with friends for twelve years. It was such a blessing to raise them in this country environment. 

We had paintball parties, swim parties, wedding receptions for friends, the list goes on. The dogs and cats came and went, although Buddy (the dachsund) stayed with us for 17 years. The drive to Fresno didn't seem so long and I began to enjoy the country life. 

When the drought hit and lingered for 7 years, we had to let the grass go. We converted it to a drought tolerant yard. The trampoline and pool eventually died (got a hole), and things began to slowly change in the back yard.  

The kids graduated and moved on. We became empty nesters and I thought, I can't stand the quiet and empty house. Let's do airbnb and host travelers, especially since we like traveling ourselves. 

So much has changed over the years.

I am grateful for the many blessings we've expereinced out here in the country. 


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