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Sunday, August 07, 2011

Double-header on the Way Home


Time to head for home and we opted taking the scenic/historic route. So, south on 101 in Hopland we visited the Solar Living Center. It's the ultra hippy, green, eensie carbon footprint center. I've stopped by there a zillion times and it's always prettier and more informative than the previous visit.

At the entrance, a wrought iron sun greets all

By the parking lot are four columns to which Morning Glory flowers in deep purple and pale lavendar climb. It emits a cool spritz of water, which is heavenly on a hot day.

Source of a nice Morning spritz

Along side the columns you walk up a hill to a shady patio covered over with fruited grape vines. I had my eyes on the grapes but they're not quite ripe yet. Bugger!

Tempting Bunches of grapes line the extensive arbor

The reason for visiting the Center is its large shop full of eco-friendly products. I managed to keep my wallet in my purse this go-round, but Barbara gave up the bucks for several nifty items.

The patio, lined with live shade cover

Not quite an hour after leaving the Center, we drove south to Cotati California. Both of us were initially reluctant, but finally we opted to visit the old Albertson homestead, where Hans & Irmgard Albertson lived with their rambunctious girls; Barbara and Suzi. Now of course, the place was vacated by the family more than a decade ago when Hans and Irmgard moved to the Napa Valley.

The old homestead was vacated so home care for the Albertsons wouldn't include tree felling and meadow mowing. Still, despite the wisdom of their move, it took me ages to reconcile to myself the abandonment my holiday refuge! From my twenties right on through my forties, I'd spent countless happy mini-breaks at the Cotati home, including countless Christmases, Easters and Thanksgivings under the loving hospitality of the Albertsons. Sometimes stayed in Susi and Barbara's childhood bedrooms, and I roomed in the 'guest house' which the old pet hospital became after Dr. Albertson retired. Many a night I happily snuggled down in a big feather-bed, happily reading Hans' old National Geographic and Der Spiegel magazines before a good night's rest.

That was then, this is now. Here below can be seen the old parking lot, the asphalt now overgrown with weeds. Behind the lot a low stone wall used to sit. Between what are now twin shrubs sit between which, used to sit, a pretty, wrought iron gate. On entering the little gate, a cow bell rang out, warning that in later years warned Irmgard there were guests afoot. I have to laugh! I remember how Irmgarrd would run out to nab me by the collar and pull me into the back door of the house before Bismark, their hundred pound plus black Great Dane arrived, yowling like a banshee! Poor boy, in his dotage what with poor eyesight, he developed a 'bite now, sniff and identify later' attitude. I can still hear the resounding WHOMP! of Bismark crashing against the front door only seconds after Irmgard hauled me inside the door.

Weeds have overwhelmed the parking lot,
home remains on left, old pet hospital on right

The house sold maybe ten years ago, to a developer (grrrrr...) who vowed to let the home stay standing as the oldest historic home in Cotati. So, imagine everyone's 'surprise' when the stalward old home, without the benefit of anyone living in it, 'accidentally' caught on fire. Accidentally. Right. I believe there is a special spot reserved in hell for land developers, particularly the selfish, lying, running capitalist dog type, which I think is most of 'em.

View of the front of the property where
my old pony Suzy roamed for several years

The old garage with Sister Suzi's painted, 'troupe l'oeil' grape vine

If you look at the little terra cotta colored window above, you can see a heart, shown close-up below. Isn't it sweet?

Closeup of Hans & Irmgard's heart

Even the old driveway is now covered over in weeds from neglect. Happily, you can still see the green and gold hillsides in the distance.

The old driveway up to the 'Alpine Pet Hospital and the Albertson's Homestead

It was fun and depressing to see the old Albertson homestead. I feel sorry for the people now living in the homes surrounding the property. I wonder if they realize their homes are former agricultural lands? I believe the reason the farms are gone has as much to do with disappearing ground water as it does development plans gone wild. Either way, I wish there was a way to convey how much living happened on that then acres of Cotati.

1 comment:

  1. Whenever I have driven through Cotati I wondered what happened to the house but I never drove up there. I think now I remember about the fire. I agree with you Claire.

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