Page:Mexico, California and Arizona - 1900.djvu/412
OLD MEXICO AND HER LOST PROVINCES.
fruits, ornamental flowers and shrubs, avenues of shade-trees, fields of corn, and green pastures of the alfalfa, a tall and strong clover, which gives half a dozen crops a year. Embowered among these are the homes of happy families, and large establishments for the drying of fruits and converting the munificent crops of grapes into wine. Many of the homes are as yet but modest wooden cottages. Others, of a better class, are of adobe, treated in an ornamental way, with piazzas and Gothic gables.
The most important residence is that of a late member of the San Francisco Stock Board, who has gone into the cultivation of grapes here on a large scale. It is a handsome villa that would do credit to any town. The improvements of the Barton place were in but an incipient state at the time of our visit. A great array of young vines brightened the recently sterile soil, but timidly and as if not quite certain of approval. Young orange and lemon trees in the door-yard were muffled in straw till they should have gained a greater hardihood to withstand the frosts. Elsewhere water was being run out from irrigating ditches over fields in preparation for the first time. It is the custom to soak them, in order that they may be perfectly levelled. Knolls or any other inequalities must not be left to hinder the equal distribution of water to the crop. A wide canal stretched back from the numerous out-buildings toward the horizon. On the verge of the wide plain showed the blue Sierras, veiled by a slight chronic dustiness of the atmosphere.In the more established portions of the colonies some charming bits of landscape are found. The Chinese farm-hand wears a blue blouse and a wide basket-hat which he calls mow. He pronounces this hat "heap good" if complimented upon it. He prunes the vines or collects the generous clusters of grapes; or else he digs a vegetable