These are the digital photos I have. I'm very grateful to the woman who's camera I borrowed to take these. Digital cameras were relatively new and expensive. She was a customer at my nursery - photos below.
I was sad to leave. I loved the light and color I'd harnessed there. But it was never realistic and caused suffering in the end. Never did we have central heating outside of one winter when I ran a wood furnace in the cellar. Ran is the correct verb. You've got to work hard over there, really really hard. Everybody does. The wages are low and tempers run high. Summers scorch and most winters drop into sub-belows. Fear throbs through that valley, echoing off the foothills. It never stops. A legend says the Native people who traversed that area, migrating through the seasons, refused to walk through the valley itself but instead would go miles around to avoid it. Once a friend drove over with a car full of women. Arriving several hours late had caused alarm. The car had refused, they explained, to take the exit. It was like the car was possessed, they said. And it wouldn't turn around until Huntington! Which is why we are late!!
Ghosts. They're everywhere. Kitty-corner to my property was the Geiser-Grand Hotel, circa 'bout the same as mine with tunnels running every which way underneath. (Opium, it's claimed, hustled by the Chinese when they were squatting there, building the narrow-tracked railroad in the late 1800s.) The Geiser's haunted, most definitely, and appeared on one of those TV ghost shows I believe.
Ghosts started figuring in my work immediately when I stepped foot in the county. The kids claimed they were being followed and breathed on and eavesdropped on and ratted out and that marbles appeared out of nowhere. I was frantic, trying to get wood for the winter, sheets on the bed, school records transferred and foul-smelling carpet ripped up to keep any kind of count of marbles. But whatever it was inspired my early stories, my first novel and a spoken word piece all named Obsidian.
I have before pics of the house. But just imagine the worst and you'll be close. The interior was ship-lap boards, rough sawn. Cheesecloth was attached with hundreds of nails with heads sunk deep and wallpaper glued over that. Pulling down the paper meant sheets of dust a century old. It was dirty work. Eventually, I used about a hundred gallons of white paint on those boards.
My first summer there I not only bought the house and moved the herd in, I also tore down another old Victorian for the scrap. A lot of the trim in these pictures was from that salvage. I also used the windows later when the greenhouse/nursery was built and the roof sheeting got used to fence the backyard.
|There's a witch stuck up in that chimney?!?|