Monday, May 30, 2011

Day 8 - Homestead Museum

This museum was a home originally built in the late 1800’s.  It sits in the middle of the City of Industry in Los Angeles and many locals don’t even know it exists.  What a great treasure to have in the area.  The story behind it is full of history and the homestead possesses such cultural beauty.  I can’t believe it was free! 

There’s no way I could possibly write all about it in a short journal entry.  And I can’t even begin to express how difficult it is to choose which pictures pictures to post!

Before our tour of the Homestead, we took a short walk to the pond,

and the family cemetary & mausoleum.

This is the first time the girls had seen a crypt.  They found it both interesting and creepy.

Poor Phil, our tour guide, was so patient with me taking pictures!  He was an excellent tour guide who seemed to know the history of the place well.  We were his only guests during this tour, so we got to ask lots of questions and take our time.
Phil shared many things with us...
How farmers made candles and soap from cow fat.  The candles and soap were inside the basket he held, pictured below.

Cattle was raised, not for the meat or the milk, but for the hyde.  The California Gold Rush had just begun during this time period and the farmers would trade their valuable hyde for gold, thus becoming very rich.

The process of making mud bricks, which is what was used in the building of this home.  We learned about this process during the school year, so it was neat to hear it again and actually see how they were used and what they look like.

Softballs were really soft.  The inside of them is filled with horse hair.  Since ball players didn't have gloves back then, they tagged others "out" by throwing the ball at them.  Therefore, the balls were made soft to prevent injury.

Bats were just carved out of wood.  I wish I had gotten a picture of the whole bat.  One of them looked more like a paddle, the other resembled a bat like what is used today.

The kids listened intently as Phil told us the history of the place and the family and they were very well-behaved.

Since the family was a mixed breed of English and Mexican, the design of the Homestead reflected both styles.  A hand carved relief surrounds the 800-pound wooden door that opens into the front of the house.

Katie got to push the door open...

...and we entered the grand foyer.

The windows in the music room displayed composers etched in glass,
each one carefully built in.

Since there was no TV, almost every member of the family played a musical instrument for entertainment, so the music room was used often.

Hand painted tiles dressed the walls and floors with original beauty...

And other windows told stories of their own...

This place is a treasure to be found and I'm glad to have done some digging for it!

This building served as an office...

This was the private water tower...

Day 7 - The PCH, Malibu & Santa Monica Pier

The Pacific Coast Highway (referred to the PCH by the locals) is the highway that hugs the pacific coast of California.  It is a beautiful drive.  On one side is the view of the seemingly endless Pacific Ocean, sandy beaches, and small sea cliffs.  On the other side is the view of the vast mountainous landscape.  In Santa Monica, large homes with gorgeous views were nested in the mountains.  It was an amazing drive!

The day started with breakfast and swimming, of course.  Jason managed to get off work around noon, so we all grabbed some lunch and headed off for a drive.  This was not the original plan for today.  Jason was supposed to have a meeting in Anaheim but it was rescheduled for another day.  Originally, we were going to go with him to Anaheim hoping to get a peak at Disneyland.  Maybe next week!

We had a long but enjoyable drive.  The kids didn’t even complain… much.  Once we exited off the boring highway through L.A., we entered into some farm country.  I’ve never seen so much land consumed by strawberry plants!  And there were people out picking as we drove passed.  I wanted to join them long enough to collect a small basket of berries myself.  We also passed lots of cabbage, a sod farm, and others.  It was refreshing to see so much farm land in the Los Angeles area.

Our drive led us to the Pacific coast – to the well-known Route 1 – the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH).

We pulled off the first chance we could to see the ocean.  It was amazing!

The beach here was a little rough.  But sites were amazing!  A seal was swimming in the water right before our very eyes!  And as if that wasn’t exciting enough, we then saw dolphins!!!  Two of them swimming side-by-side, which I believe would be a mother with its infant.  I managed to snap a few pictures before they swam away... without my zoom lens.  If you look closely, it really it there!

The large, white-capped waves roared onto the beach and sprayed against the rocks just down the coast as if they were being pushed by some unseen force.  It was cold and bubbly as it flattened out and covered the sand.  The girls jumped with excitement as they watched and waded.

Continuing our coastal drive, we came to Malibu.  We pulled off to absorb the scenery and take some pictures.

 On down the road, the beaches were well groomed and loaded with volleyball nets.  It looked just like the beaches in movies.  I didn’t snap a single photo in this area and I’m not sure we’ll get back there because traffic is so bad!
Our journey along the coast ended at Santa Monica Pier.
And this is the end of the trail (Route 66)

Wow!  The kids were so excited to see the ferris wheel and other rides on the pier.  
 Unfortunately, that section was closed off for a private party.  We still had fun though.  We got to see an embryo shark swimming around in its egg.  An employee from the aquarium beneath the pier was walking it around in a large test tube filled with water.

Katie, in Forrest Gump's shoes...

I would love to go back to Santa Monica when we could experience the fullness of all the activities.  But it was fun just walking around, looking through some small shops and taking in all the scenery.
It was a long drive back, mostly due to all the traffic.  Being a holiday weekend, it’s even heavier than usual.  It was worth it though.  And I would do it again.
We’ve done so many fun things, I can’t decide what is my favorite.  I guess that’s a good thing!