About three weeks ago, Raul called me one night from the ranch to tell me he had a huge surprise, and although he wasn’t going to tell me what it was, or give me a hint, he wanted me to know it was something big.
This of course really perked me up because one week before, I’d had a set back with an old knee injury, and on Doc’s orders I was to rest and wear a knee immobilizer for one month. This also meant no physical exercise of any kind, and did I forget to mention, no stairs? This is why I bring up the subject of my wonderful husband and stairs because both are significant factors in this story.
Right around this time last year I had knee surgery due to a torn meniscus. Surgery went well. Afterwards I was on crutches, bed rest, and limited physical exertion while my knee healed from the operation.
After a month of rest and inactivity at our house in Ensenada I couldnt stand it anymore so I openly declared rebellion on everyone, including the doctor, unless I was allowed to go to the ranch. I couldn’t stay away from the ranch for months while my knee healed. It was impossible. Not only that, it wasnt good for my health!
Many of you reading this know our house at the ranch has a huge flight of stairs leading up to our front door. If stair climbing was out of the question what were we to do? That’s when we decided to stay in one of the hunter’s cabins ( no stairs involved) so I could be at the ranch while my knee healed from surgery. It was the perfect idea.
Raul and I stayed in the hunters cabin for about a month when although very comfortable, we both decided it was located too far away from the cabins our guests stayed in. Raul and I like to be close in case someone needs anything, especially during the night. That summer, the hunters cabin was fine, but with our fall season due to start up again soon we needed to formulate a new plan for our temporary living arrangements.
Then we had another bright idea. Why not move into Cabin #5? It was our family size cabin (sleeps 6) and it wouldn’t be in use for a while, so why not? Once we decided on our new residence for the Fall season, we packed up our things and moved a whopping 200 yards over to Cabin #5 and installed ourselves there for the remainder of the year.
On our first night in Cabin #5 Raul and I were surprised as to how well we slept, and how good we felt there. It wasnt the cabin. All the cabins at the ranch are very comfortable and inviting. Rather, it was more the location of the cabin that somehow made the difference.
Maybe it was the two, old oaks that stood on either side and their big, shady branches which covered the cabin from end to end, or the view of the oat field out the back window and the mountains surrounding our valley, or the gentle winds that blew a refreshing summer nights breeze through the open windows. And if the moon was full, when it rose, the bright globe shined itself dead center right into our window. It was so beautiful. We were also close to our guests again although when referring to the cabin’s location, maybe it was being underneath the trees that gave it a private, tucked away feel to it.
Undoubtedly it was a combination of all these things but most importantly, we felt comfortable there and at peace. While we took all these factors into consideration, and when Raul said he’d never slept better in all his life, suddenly it was my turn for the bright idea…….
Raul and I are in the process of formulating a plan for our retirement days. We just can’t see ourselves climbing those stairs everyday at the tender ages of 75 and 80! Now, with my knee situation, the idea is even more appealing so I bidded my time and waited for the chance to spring my new idea on him.
One morning during our ritual coffee time together I suggested we permanently move into cabin #5. Why not? It was the perfect spot. Besides, we were already there and if we needed too, we could open a doorway on the back wall and add a small kitchenette. So how about it? I asked him. Unfortunately, he wasn’t keen on the idea. I was disappointed. Nevertheless, we stayed there until my leg healed and I could climb stairs again. Eventually we moved back into our own house located at the top of the stairs right over the kitchen.
Now a year later, after this last set back with my knee, here I am again on plenty of rest, limited physical exercise, and no stairs: Doctors orders. That meant we needed to adjust our living situation at the ranch one more time: back to the hunters cabin we go.
At the beginning of this story, when I referred to Raul having a big surprise for me let me say, he wasn’t kidding. After suffering through an entire week with only a thread of a hint about the big surprise, my curiosity increased each day. Finally, it was time to go, and when I arrived at the ranch, Raul told me to drive around and park behind Cabin #5. As I approached I saw there was now a ramp leading from the back of the house that connected to the front porch. No stairs, and if you could see my smile at that moment, it was wider than the state of Texas.
I parked, and got out. Raul walked up to me with a huge grin on his face. “Well, what do you think?” He asked.
All I could say was, “but I thought you didn’t want to move here?”. He reminded me it was only temporary but I somehow got the impression temporary could mean a long time. Then he invited me inside, his grin now permanently plastered across his face. When I stepped inside I couldn’t believe what I saw. He had taken out all 6 bunk beds from Cabin 5 and replaced it with all of our furniture. Beds, bureaus, sofa, chairs all of it. I was shocked, but then I wondered, what happened to the bunk beds?
He proceeded to tell me the new plan. Our house upstairs was now Cabin 6 and it was in the process of being repainted, with finished floors and all the works to turn it into a guest cabin. In fact as I write this the cabin was finished this past weekend and it looks great.
So Raul and I have taken up new residence in Cabin #5 and both of us are really enjoying it. It feels just as cozy, and comfortable as it did last year. The shady oaks extend their branches over the cabin, and I can still look out the back window and see the oat field, and the mountains. Raul loves it because all he has to do is peek out the same window and we have a clear view of who’s coming down the road. My wonderful husband did have a big surprise for me, and as it turns out it was a surprise that brought with it new renovations to the ranch.
While working on Cabin 6 we also decided to go ahead and paint the kitchen and living room, which, after ten years since the last major paint job, was definitely needed. It looks great! So those of you who will visit us at the end of this month, you’re the first to see these new and positive changes at the ranch.
Both Raul and I have noticed our guests enjoy seeing new things at La Bellota. Changes here and there are good, especially if the benefits are for everyone. We want to make the ranch as inviting and comfortable as possible but at the same time, we work hard to maintain a sense of authenticity and charm in the vibrant history of Baja California’s Old West.
We’ll look forward to seeing you at the ranch!
Que les vayan bien! May you travel well!