Saturday, July 29, 2006

A Trip To Ranch Country

I spend almost all my time confined to the old part of the city. I live, work, and shop in the older parts of town, and all of my friends also live in this area, so I forget that there is a whole other side to the city. Last week I ventured over in to Ranch Country. Actually, I think these homes are only Ranch-esque in nature. They are 80s & 90s versions of the Ranch Home.

When I was a kid growing up we lived in a Ranch Home. My parents had it built in the early 60s. I guess you could call it a custom home but it was no McMansion or anything. I think it was about 2,500 sq ft, maybe a little larger. It had 4 bedrooms, 2 baths, large kitchen, dining room, and a very large family room. The floors were random width, hand pegged pine. One end of the family room was dominated by a massive brick fire place with a brick hearth that created a bench along most of the wall. On one side of the fire place there was a large cabinet built in to the brick for storing wood. It had a wooden door on it with very nice, sort of Colonial style wrought iron hinges and handle. It was a favorite place for me to hide. On the other side there were built in bookshelves.

The front of the house was symmetrical with the front door in the center with a small, inset porch. There were 2 double hung, 6 over 6 windows on either side. The front and back of the house were sided in wood and the 2 sides were brick. The house was on a sort of triangular shaped lot at the end of a cul-de-sac and it stretch out low and wide across the back of the lot. Out front were 3 big oak trees that caused my Dad constant problems because he could never get grass to grow under the thick canopy created by the three trees.

All of the homes on the street were of similar size, and even though I think they could all be considered Ranches, they were all a little different. Some had a more modern flare, while others maybe had some Tudor influence, but most were strict Ranch style homes. It was a fun street to grow up on. There were a lot young, growing families with kids. It was overly typical Americana for the 1960s. Of course, I’m sure there were lot’s of sordid stories behind those perfect doors.

Last week a friend stopped by to show off some treasure he had just found at a garage sale. Mainly he wanted to show me the big slab of redwood burl he had picked up. He stopped by to gloat, naturally, but also to tell me there was more where that came from. I hopped it my truck and drove across town to where the garage sale was. As I said, this was Ranch Country, but at the same time it wasn’t. There was lots of vinyl siding and T-111 siding. The homes just didn’t give me the same feeling as the homes on the street I grew up on. They were all kind of the same and somewhat uninspired in their appearance. Instead of being a nice neighborhood of Ranch Homes it was a neighborhood of Dude-Ranch Homes. There was something unauthentic about them.

Garage Sale Redwood Slab & Router: $20.00
A trip to another part of the city to get it: Priceless

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