• Autumn 2001- Settling into camp

    by  • October 18, 2001 • Home Building, Our diary-the first five years

    This is a transcript of the diary I kept during the first years of our transition to the mountains. We had lived in Orange County, CA for the past 20 years and decided to check out property in Bass Lake, CA where we had vacationed for several years.

    Temporary ‘utilities’

    Oct 12-16, 2001
    This is the one year mark! Last year on my birthday weekend we found our place here near Bass Lake. Actually near the little town of North Fork, it is seven acres, two miles south of the lake with a view of Peckinpah Ridge. All the properties along this stretch of Rd 274 have this view.  Down below in the valley is Willow Creek, reached by driving down Douglas Station Rd. This trip is just the two of us, at my request. Our objectives this trip is to prepare our campsite for comfort, spray for poison oak, my husband has a golf tournament with Paul and Ed, and I want to measure and map out both the goat shed and the house pad.

     Larry, Russ and I dig tempory sewer system

     It was a beautiful sunny weekend with balmy, warm nights. I spent my birthday puttering around the trailer, putting up cup hooks and pictures–getting the place all homey.

     We spent one evening at Don and Marcie’s, combining our dinners together. She taught me to play Aggravation–she’s an evil woman, you know. We spent a couple of nights peacefully reading, no phone reception, no TV or radio. Sunday out to Szechuan Chinese with Ed and Mary. Monday, while the boys played golf, Renota showed me around town, Company’s Coming gift shop, where I got the Crystal the cat pillow and a hummingbird stake, and Howdy’s Junk and Antique Yard in Coarsegold. Renota is good company. Great weekend!


     Gravel for the driveway

    Nov 9-12, 2001

    Long Veteran’s Day weekend an we’re off to our place, my husband now is calling  this ‘The world’s most expensive campsite’.  Madeline is with us and Bob, his new girlfriend, their three kids combined with their friend and his two boys all to arrive Saturday night.

    Our objectives, this trip, were to spread road base and gravel on the pad for the winter and set up the new redwood dining table for our patio area. The trip up seemed long due to a late start, 8pm. The trailer was fine (we had gotten a call from the neighbors saying because of a rain storm, they feared that it would slide off the pad!) and we unpacked in a hurry and fell into bed.

    Up at 6:30 to make coffee and Russ and Ed arrived with Russ’s tractor at 7am. Don and Marcie came down to watch and help, bring Irish Creme for the coffee! The Outback gravel guy arrived right on time shortly after with a truck and trailer load of road base for the drive and ½ inch crush for the house pad. Russ’s advice to get Brad was great; he spread it to 1 inch, just like a dream with the guys’ help.  I had expected to have to do more raking! The timing was perfect because it started raining the next day and the gravel would get pressed into the soft clay to stabilize the drive and keep the trailer cleaner.

    New table for the patio and steps for the trailer
    New table for the patio and steps for the trailer

     Maddi and I went down to the lake Saturday after I set up the new table. I wanted to show her how the level of the lake went down in the Fall. We collected some rocks and some wild grasses. Bob came about 8pm and it started to rain at 9pm. He brought Tracey, her son Brandon and friend, Kevin from the old Kovars Karate studio, and his boys, Preston and Austin. We were able to talk awhile because the rain stopped and after we turned in it poured most of the night. The tenters did all right and the rain stopped that morning.

    My husband had arranged to ride with the guys and lots turned up due to the ‘no dust’ conditions. I sowed my wildflower seeds all around the edge of the house pad and on the new banks it formed.  The kids followed behind me and we stepped on the seeds for good soil contact. I ran out, so Maddi and I went to town to get more. Kevin, Bob and Tracey took all five kids down to the creek through all the poison oak and more importantly, got back up. Kevin left after one of his boys locked his keys in the car. The riders got back and we just puttered around the rest of the day.

    Monday we all packed up. We again were surprised at how nice and warm it was during the day and in the evenings.  More rain was expected and that would be good for my seeds. We noticed masses of little seedlings were coming up in the burned areas. Looks like the poison oak we sprayed last time is dying.


    Sue Langley, a passionate gardener and photographer lives and gardens with her husband and Corgi, Maggie on 7 acres just south of Yosemite, Zone 7 at 3000 feet. She also manages the Flea Market Gardening Facebook page and website.