what recent fires have done to it. We were astounded to see the
devastation wrought on the hills. Everything is burned black right
down to the ground. Bare skeletons of trees stand alone among the
dark stubble. Ghastly! And then, as we drove on, we saw houses and
cars and stores standing crisp and bright, as though the hand of God
had thrown down a fireproof blanket from Heaven to cover them and
save them from the conflagration.
We knew what had happened: The firefighters had concentrated their
efforts on protecting the homes and the homeowners in that area,
ringing the properties with men and equipment to save what was most
important. We were grateful for their incredible efforts and thrilled
at their success. Once again, we were reminded that the real
superheroes of our time aren't in blockbuster movies, but are hanging
on the backs of fire trucks.
About six miles north of Valencia Boulevard on Bouquet Canyon Road
(29527 Bouquet Canyon Road, to be exact) we came to the Lombardi
Ranch, where you can find Southern California's largest pumpkin patch
and its 13th annual Harvest Festival from Sept. 29 through Oct. 27.
Hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week, but the most
entertaining days are Saturdays and Sundays.
What do you do at a Harvest Festival? Of course, you buy pumpkins
and gourds and Indian corn. You can find any size and shape that
appeals to you and load it into a little wooden cart to haul it
around the grounds. If you have (or can borrow) some small children,
they will be happy to help with the selection and the hauling, and
you will have an especially great time at this no-admission festival.
Of course, special features like wagon rides, the petting zoo, face
painting and pony rides have price tags, but the kids can climb the
mountains of hay bales, clamber all over the old fire engine and play
on the large orange iron pumpkin at no charge.
Each weekend, there are musical groups entertaining. At last
year's festival, I sat on a hay bale and watched parents dancing with
their children to a really fine country-western group. I wanted to