I have always wanted to be a tour guide. Once I had dreamed of doing it at a winery. Now I’m getting the opportunity to do it at a local historical building–Kearney Mansion.
This house was built as the farm manager’s home and Mr. Kearney stayed here while working on his estate farm of 5,000 acres, mostly grape vineyards that turned the grapes into raisins. M. Theo Kearney was known as the raisin king.
I will be giving three school tours on Tuesdays in May. Not quite a winery, but still involving vines!
This morning was spent pruning and raking in my lush, overgrown backyard. The last time my mother saw the backyard, shortly before she died 11 years ago, she commented on how beautiful it was now that it had filled in so well. In 11 years it’s filled in even more, and although I seem to constantly be pruning some plant or tree back there, I can’t keep up. It is very overgrown, but I like the shade that the trees and foundation plants provide. The birds, squirrels, and bugs like it, too. Even the neighbor cat now lives in our backyard. I filled the green container this morning, but I also have a brush pile behind the greenhouse pad where I put the pear tree clippings.
I wish my dad were alive to help me prune back there. Of course, he would be 103 if he was still around, probably unable to climb trees, but I bet he could tell me what to do. My dad was bossy that way. (Those of you who personally know me are thinking, “ah, so that’s where she gets it.”) His voice is often in my head any way:
“You need to open your shears more.”
“Go in further on the branch.”
“Slant the other way.”
“Take off more limbs.”
Daddy had learned to prune in the vineyards on the Welch Grape Farm in Arkansas before he brought the family (long before I was born) to California during the dust bowl era. He pruned all of the fruit trees and yard trees on our farm, and although he farmed cotton when I was a little girl, he would hire himself out during the winters to vineyardists in the area, often teaching their crews how to prune. The man knew his way with a set of pruning sheers. I could sure use that talent in my backyard.