I miss the music in the park, the kids laughing and screaming and getting into trouble, Saturday night bingo, movie nights, casino nights, carnivals, rodeos, duck races, golf carts going all night, dancing, and the fun times the Ranch is used to having. I also miss everyone’s face!
It was a mess of a year, but hopefully by summer 2021 will be looking brighter!
I hope you all had a great holiday season, and we look forward to a better year!
Between the Fires and the COVID-19 closures it has been a very strange year to say the least. Hopefully (as we are in our second stretch of overnight camping closure) we will be putting COVID-19 behind us this upcoming summer and we can get back to the fun at the Ranch.
This past year the Ranch survived one of the largest wildfires in California history. After 1 full day of evacuation and 3 incredibly stressful days with the Fires surrounding the Ranch, we were untouched. R-Ranch was the only stretch of property off Hwy 128 in the Capell Valley that did not burn. Our 1968 water truck did the trick! It helped assist in saving of several homes on hwy 128 keeping the fire at bay from crossing over onto R-Ranch property. After power restoration and cleanup, we were allowed back on property after a 21-day evacuation. Thank you to ALL who aided in the evacuation process, at the stables, and everywhere else you helped along the way.
During this strange year we had to restructure our staffing due to the budget adjustments caused by COVID-19, so we are running with a skeleton crew this winter and plan to run extremely low on staff going into next summer as well. We have also trimmed down our maintenance budget so we are trying to work on projects that we can achieve with a small staff and small budget.
During this closure period it has given us a great opportunity to get a lot of leaf removal and tree work done in the campground. We have cut down and trimmed several trees in several sites. As folks pull off, we will continue to block out the sites and get the trees trimmed. If the sites have caution tape on them, please choose a different site.
This is the first time the leaves in the upper section have been completely removed to my knowledge. After dozens of trailers loads Maryann and Jim removed all the leaves in the upper loop! What a job that has been. With the lack of people, it has given us a great opportunity to get in there and get them out!
We were also able to get a lot of debris burnt during this down time. With the lack of people, we were able to burn in place saving a lot of labor and tractor time. We had a good fire in the meadow, one in the loop, one in the cabin area, one in the triangle, and another at the main wood pile. Nearly our entire wood pile is gone! (Pics) Several more fires to go still but we are getting it cleaned up!
We have also been working diligently on getting generators installed at the pool and the office for PG&e’s future Planned Power Outages. This way the power goes down and we do not have to! (pics). Both generators should be completed by the end of this month.
The Ranch Barn received a quick facelift on one end to clear out some dry rot and replace the rotted doors.
One of our other projects on our list is the overhang behind the owner barn. The structure itself was failing and it is rotted and in dire need of repair. We are currently making the necessary repairs and I believe when it is completed the horse owners will be happy with it. Currently Underway! I am also hoping down the road we can get some horse owner volunteers or any volunteers to help with a brick patio adjacent to the overhang once its completed. It would make a nice area for BBQ’s or a fun hang out spot.
Paint, paint, paint- we are also working on painting when and where we can in-between storms. This is something on-going year after year, and month after month. Currently giving the pool chemical room (down below) a good painting and new lattice screens along with a paint job on the benches around the fire pit and the wall.
Pool- Another interesting project that we have taken on this winter is the pool. Since I have been here the pool has leaked. I have been investigating the leak for years and I think we have found it. The pool has a tank on the pool deck that holds the water from the skimmers and sends water to the main pump. The top of this tank had a crack all the around the concrete inside. Every time we fill the pool past a certain point it leaks.
The crack in the tank is repaired, the entire tank has been coated and now we fill it back up and see if it worked! Fingers crossed.
Hay Truck- Herb got the hay truck going again. The old 1972 Ford received a new floorboard, new breaks, transmission repair, windshield wipers, headlights, bed rack, steps, and a heater. She is ready to go!
Moving forward once the projects on this list are caught up will be another large water repair. Last winter we started at the tanks and worked our way down towards the 1-5 “A” cabins. This winter we would like to continue and head towards the playground and possibly back up the road from cabins 1-24. We have a few more weeks of project finalizing and then we will move forward on to the water system.
Hopefully, we can all continue to use precautions and we can get this virus under control so we can begin to use and enjoy R-Ranch to its fullest!
Cheers to 2021,
Brad A. Miracle
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