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Living on the Ranch (Part 3)by Gloria Johnson,
Between Times October 2007 page 4
Living on the Ranch (Part 3)
In 1925 Susanna bought her brother's half interest in the Ranch; she had visions of using the land for more than cattle grazing. Susanna had married a dentist in Pasadena. She had a busy life there and also two children, Susanna and Ernst Jr. She loved the ranch and spent much time there. She consulted with Mr. Johnson on all business dealings concerning the ranch. The addition of the Botanical Gardens increased the workload for both of them. The work involved in creating the Gardens could be called a labor of love. But, that is another story.
With the orchards established, Mrs. Bryant planned to start the Botanical Garden devoted to native California plants; she dedicated it to her father who dearly loved the Ranch. Two hundred acres were set aside up on a sloping hill. She decided to build a Spanish Style Mansion near the Gardens. The home was built of four-foot thick adobe bricks that were made on the ranch. The Mansion was beautiful and decorated appropriately in the Spanish motive. There was a giant fireplace big enough for Owen and Kathleen to walk inside. The bell tower on the tile roof had a view of the ocean on a clear day (there were many then) you could also see across the river to the 2-lane road running through the Santa Ana canyon.
When Susanna moved into her Mansion, the Johnson's moved into the Ranch across the street, Bud and Sis were 4 and 2. They grew up in a unique environment. They did not have a neighborhood with homes all around them, they were somewhat isolated out in the country. On the ranch site were homes for the married men and a bunkhouse for single men. There was a cookhouse where meals were served by `Cookie'. The workers and often Ernest were called to eat by ringing a big bell.
The ranch compound was an area about 10 acres. There was an office building and down the road a big barn, a corral and blacksmith shop for the horses that were used on the ranch until tractors and machines replaced the animals. By the time Owen and Kathleen were born, machines had replaced most of the animals. Some of the horses were kept for riding. Kathleen would ride the horses and Owen would go to the machine shop. She would take the horse up to the reservoir and they would swim. Sometimes Owen and boys on the ranch would swim too. Owen spent much time with Carson Campos and Leon Moor who were mechanics. This is where he learned skills about cars and machines that were of value all his life. Bud and Sis had fun in the big barn playing in the hay, swinging on the ropes and later bringing friends out to enjoy the ranch. The barn was a marvelous place to explore and play. What a wonderful place in which to grow up!
To be continued.
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