Madera, CA 93636


I say it often; Autumn is my favorite season. 

House: We did a little landscaping in front of the house (see photo). We planted 3 trees and 20 smaller plants in the front circle. Unfortunately, only one small plant is left as some critters got to the rest. The 3 trees made it. I also can't believe some critters ate all the cacti in my 'cactus garden'.  I think it was the wild bunnies we have running around. The outdoor kitchen is 90% completed in the backyard. We finished the sidewalk all around the house and in the backyard. It is coming together nicely.  Maybe by next summer, it will be completed. I'm still waiting to put in an old fashion clothes line. I also completed yard art areas in the backyard.

ARC: We had a Makers market gathering in the summer and will be hosting another Oct. 22nd. I enjoy supporting local artisans and allowing a place for them to sell their craft. I also hosted a  women's worship gathering in September. 

We've been working on the door openings for months. They were made smaller (from 20x20 to 10x10). We hope to get sliding barn doors made by the end of the year. We finally found someone to build them. Although my hope was that it be done by end of summer, we're now shooting by the end of the year. Next project: Outdoor Pole lights, lights, gazebo level new area for parking and bring in gravel. I really wish we could barter these projects! 

The Land: I have a lot more ideas for the land, and I am still looking for help.  I would like to put in a prayer labyrinth and area for outdoor games (volleyball, etc.). I'd also like to set up a creative walkabout area with signs. With inflation as crazy as it is and few laborers, we realize it may take longer than we hoped. 

Family/Friends: Like I said we did have an awesome time visiting friends in Montana and Idaho this summer. We also took a nice drive to see Yellowstone and an alpaca farm. We discovered Outdoorsy and rented a van. We took a few trips to southern cal to visit family and friends as well. Although I (marta) went back to teaching in early August, I still enjoy working on the land whenever I can. I'm really hoping we can have a few FUN FALL activities out here, i.e.fall photoshoot, open alpaca day, and Friendsgiving. I'm also trying to convince Arnold to let me drive the tractor ;) I have so many things I want to do :) 

Spring 2022

Spring is here! I'm super excited about the cool weather so we can work on projects outside. We've got a lot going on. I tend to be a multi-tasker working on several projects at once. 

Shalom Oasis area is completed! The Bell canvas tent is up and it is surviving the rain and wind! We got it through White Duck company. Although it can sleep 12 people, but we won't be having that. I did post it on Airbnb and Hipcamp. I really want to offer it to ministry friends as a place to rest and refresh. Even though I wanted it to be my woman cave, I am open to sharing it now :) The area also is set up to accommodate other tent campers nearby. However, if a ministry is using the area, it will not be open to other travelers. My latest guest just said it was so cool and relaxing to be in. 

Stays: We continue to get calls form Airbnb, Hipcamp and Harvest host.  It is such great fun visiting travelers from around the country. 

The Big Red Barn: It was fun to host a small Passover Sedar with friends. I'm looking forward to another gathering in a few days. We will have Native drum worship and Hebraic dance. These are two of my favorite things to do. (Currently, I'm taking western line dance in Clovis, and I'd like to get a teacher at our place). My goal for spring is to get the unnecessary items out,  mulch around the barn, and the door enclosures completed. It has been difficult finding skilled workers. 

The House:  I finally got all the decorating completed in the house!  I found five of my large furniture items secondhand.  I so like treasure hunting! I planted a small garden on the east side of the house. We are also working on a larger raised garden bed and planting fruit trees in the backyard.  Arnold is waiting for help to finish the concrete counter in the outdoor kitchen.  Our goal is to get all our landscaping around the house done by end of summer.

The Animals: The dogs are crazy as ever and love running around the property when we are outside working. The alpacas are doing fine. They will be sheared soon. I still need to get around to selling the yarn we had made from their fiber. (ugh, I don't like marketing). Our kids say we should not get any more animals, but we do still have a chicken coop to put up. 

Marta She Shop. Since marketing and selling are not my things, I end up giving away a lot of what I make. I like creating 'stuff and refurbishing items.  It might be time for another yard sale.  I do sell the Fair Trade Alpaca items and my handmade alpaca dryer balls. to a lot of my Harvest Host guests.

Family and Friends: Matt's family came for a short visit at the end of March and I got to visit Mary /family during Spring break. My best friend from elementary school (Kathy) and I have been going on some adventures. We are thinking of starting an Instagram account about our excellent adventures :) 

Winter 21/22

February 2022 It was awesome coming home from the hospital (November) and seeing green land. It seemed when I left, it was brown and then when I got home it was green.  In November and December, I spent time recovering and rebuilding my strength. The nice thing was I had a lot of time to catch up on doing crafts and Arnold created some great new meals and sourdough treats. Thank God for the rain in December. Since it is difficult to get much done outside, I've been focusing on completing the house's indoor space (decorating, finding the right furniture, etc.). 

The large canvas tent finally arrived (I ordered it in July) and I hope to get it all set up by my birthday (March 4th). This area will be called Shalom Oasis, a space set up for prayer/meditation/spiritual retreat and equipping.

Fall 2021

Shana Tova! Happy New year, although Rosh Hashana has passed, I love this time of the year. Fall is my  (marta) favorite season. The weather is cooler and  Rosh Hashana and Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles) are in the Fall. These are holidays I like to celebrate. (I first learned of them while living in Israel in 1980-1982). I hosted a women's gathering (potluck and worship) in the Barn. It was so nice to get together with friends during Sukkot. 

Although it is a time to celebrate the harvest, with the trees blossoming with fall colors,  this will be the first time we don't have any. No pomegranates this year (although I may have to go to my old neighbors and get some). We do not have any trees or landscaping planted yet ;) However, we are grateful for the cooler weather. The 100+ weather is over. 

The animals are settled and hubby is building an outdoor kitchen. I am still trying to decorate and get the 'feel' of the house. It's like a blank canvas.  Should I put up old photos and decor?  I don't have a single bookcase up (the last house had a lot), and all my crafts are in my storage unit. It seems it will take me a while to figure this all out. We bought a large farmer dining table, seats 10, in hopes to have people out. For those who know us, you know we like to have friends out. We're starting to have 'taco Tuesday nights' with friends over. 

It rained a little (YEAH) and the dust settled near the barn, so we were able to bring in road base. I also set up a few seating areas around the barn. It's coming along. We still are looking for a framer to finish the enclosure. 

Our Latest Blog Entry

April 2021: What a year!  Has it really been a year since I last wrote? Wow.  During the year, it seemed we spent every weekend moving stuff to the property or working on projects. It was 28 years of accumulation of stuff.  We built fences and installed solar. The house was completed April 2021, and we moved in. We moved the alpacas the following month.

We put our Manon house for sale in early June, and it sold within a week (Thank God- Escrow was short. (Yeah!) 

We know this will be a  lifelong process of building. Our 2021 summer project is to repaint inside the house. In the Fall we hope to build an outdoor kitchen and finish cement work around the house. 

 Marta has been preparing the tent areas for the Hipcampers and Airbnb guests. We've been getting a lot of Harvest Host guests as well. Last year we got a lot of tent campers due to a lot of campsites being closed. We'll see what happens now that more things are open. 

This summer (2021) we are also offering the use of our tents for those who want to camp but don't have the gear. They are all listed on Airbnb and Hipcamp. 

While I'm on summer break (from teaching),  I will also be working on a special area for prayer and reflection. It will be called Shalom Oasis.

Our Second Blog Entry

Our Ranch Story

June 10, 2020 For those of you who have asked about A & M Ranch, here is the story.  I realize some of this might be too detailed, but there is so much to this journey. First, It's been a faith journey - we never thought we'd be here at this time of our lives.

Part 1:

2005: We bought two forty-acre parcels. That's when I was working FT, and we could afford it. Who would have known 6 months later I'd lose my job? Long story short, God is faithful and took care of us in the midst of it all. We bought 2 parcels with the intention of selling one and later exchanging the second parcel for a house in the hills. We looked for three years in the mountains. We wanted a place with a house, shop, and landscape.  

We sold the first parcel around 2010. We tried to sell the 2nd parcel three different times. Then, we realized we really didn't want to live in the mountains, so we stopped looking and took the land off the market.

I (Marta) was going through some physical challenges back in 2014-2016 and was exhausted and had no intention of building.  So we prayed-"God, if you want us to build and have a vision for this land, then show us and please restore energy and put us both on the same page." God answered, and I started to feel better. We decided to put in a well in 2017. We just decided to keep moving forward one step at a time. Because we built our last home 27 years ago, we knew what had to be done. After the well, we worked on getting power to the property. That took a year and a half. 

2018: We bought the c-trains for storage.  It was not as roomy as Arnold's last shop, but it was sufficient. Arnold painted his storage units and put a cover between them. It looks like another barn. 

2019 -We built the Big Red Barn. We finally decided on house plans and a builder.

2020/May- House Foundation was poured. We still have lots to do i.e. finish the dog fencing, alpaca fencing, landscaping, patios, etc, etc. 

(Oh yeah, in the midst of the past decade, we were still working, both my parents passed, Arnold's dad passed, we became empty-nesters, two kids got married, we started a few businesses and I got my doctorate), so if you never heard us talk about the land it was because we were focusing on other things :)

We thank the Lord for his GOODNESS. It's been a wild ride. Who would have thought we'd be doing this in our 60s? But then again, who would have thought people would be wearing masks and sheltering in place for almost a year?

It's a NEW ERA! 

Our First Blog Entry

Decluttering-Jan 2020

I read a recent article that titled "Ten things your kids don't want". Really?! How sad, they really don't want my vintage tablecloths, doilies and china dishes?

I started this decluttering process a few years before my parents passed. They started giving away some of their things. I digitized their photos, before tossing and giving away the prints.After throwing out photos of trees and mountain (places they visited), I realized, my kids would not to want my photos of trees and squirrels:). So now I have 40 years of photo albums to sort through. I'm giving myself a few years.

A few years ago, I started with my kids photo albums and video's. I took out the photos and tossed the albums.I sorted the photos into 5 piles (one for each of them and one for me) and then bundled them by year. I put them in a pretty box and gave each a box for Christmas. I also sent the videos to be made into DVD's. (although that now seems to be outdated). Step 1 -done! Now, I have to go through my personal 1960-80's albums and digitize.

Next: The stuff: The kids all have put the things they want to keep in boxes. The hardest thing is getting rid of things they don't want but bring me good memories...like my husbands first ski set, or my first set of dishes when I was single, or moms tea cups, the toy soldiers, barbies, and all the beanie babies.This has been on ongoing emotional process. I've sold stuff, sent much to the thrift stores, repurposed some, and kept a few for future generations.(I actually made a cool wall hanging, like many dream catchers out of my moms doilies).

I know this will take time, but I also know I don't want to move all this stuff when it is time to move. It's time to Let it Go.