A Lariat Rope Links Grieb Family Generations Together

Just like a father may pass down a favorite tool, ranchers pass down their favorite tools – such as a lariat rope – as well. A lariat rope is simply the long arm of the cowboy.

Having the skill to swing a lariat rope to pull in stray cattle is a useful and admired ranching skill. The lariat has an eye, or a honda, tied at one end. The other end is threaded through this eye to form a big loop. Swinging the loop over his or her head, the cowboy or cowgirl then throws the loop from horseback towards the stray calf to lasso it for control.

Lariat rope honda

Grieb Family Lariat Rope

Recently Daniel received a lariat rope passed to him by his great uncle, Larry. The card accompanying the lariat reads: “I heard it was made by an old horse trader that lived between Arroyo Grande and Pismo.  I figured he lived in the area that Teddy lived in the 1950’s.”

Grieb Family Lariat

Loop of Grieb Family History

This loop of Grieb family history will not be lassoing calves on Grieb Ranch. Instead, this lariat is hanging on the wall as both decoration and an historical keepsake.

Alice “Lorna” Grieb (Erickson)

Alice “Lorna” Grieb at 2 years

Alice “Lorna” Grieb was born at home on what is now Todd Lane in Arroyo Grande, California on February 25, 1926, the 7th of nine children (third daughter). In her early childhood she was often ill and missed a lot of school. Her parents often called the family doctor to make home visits. Eventually, she began to thrive and kept up with her 6 brothers quite well. Lorna was a tomboy and loved spending time more with her brothers than her two sisters. She loved to play outdoors and found it to be drudgery to be called into the kitchen for cooking and cleaning tasks. On Saturdays, she hiked, rode horseback to the beach or played in the creek on hot days. She enjoyed outings and camping trips with family. Lorna hated wearing shoes and one of her teachers once sent a note home to her mother saying that if the family couldn’t afford to buy her shoes that she would provide them. Her mother was very embarrassed!

Always the Animal Lover and the Crafter

She loved animals and always had a number of cats as pets. She dressed them in doll clothes, gave them buggy rides and told them all her troubles. You can imagine her consternation when her brother Carl, ever the entrepreneur, sold her new litter of kittens! She learned to sew at an early age (she says 2″“ grade) when she wanted a pair of shorts and took apart an old dress, cut out the shorts and sewed them up. Her mother was quite surprised at her ingenuity. She took knitting lessons in San Luis Obispo at Sinsheimers store and did so well that she was able to teach her mother how to knit also. She excelled in sewing and knitting all of her life. She made dance costumes for several nieces. She sewed beautiful wedding gowns and attendant dresses for her two daughters and a granddaughter and designed quilts and afghans for charity. As a young adult she developed a love of music and art. She took piano lessons and played the cello in the school orchestra. She was always drawing and sketching things in her notebooks.

Teen Years

Early Teen Years

As a teenager she attended dances on Saturday nights at the “rat races” in downtown Arroyo Grande, chaperoned, mostly by brothers Stan and Ted. It was at one of these dances at age 16 that she met Merriam Erickson, an army private stationed at Camp San Luis. They corresponded for several years after he was shipped overseas during World War II.

Lorna graduated from Arroyo Grande High School in June of 1944 and enrolled in San Luis Obispo Junior College majoring in Art.(at the time on the same campus as the San Luis Obispo High School). After a year she asked her parents to allow her to attend Woodbury College in Burbank, CA to further her study of art. Her parents finally approved and it was arranged when Merriam returned to California in 1946. So instead of completing college, she got married. A fact she at times lamented.

Early Married Years

Lorna in her early 20’s

Lorna and Merriam were married in her parent’s home on February 22, 1946. She was just three days shy of her 20th birthday. Merriam was 28. Merriam’s years in the army brought out the wandering spirit in him and throughout their marriage they had many adventures as they moved from place to place —Minnesota, California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho. Lorna had two daughters Sandi Marie born July 1947 and Cyndy Jean born April 1954. During their growing up years she was a Camp Fire Girl leader, 4-H leader and church volunteer. Each and every day her life demonstrated how she valued her family. Lorna got her first job after her marriage in Bemidji, Minnesota working as a stock clerk in Woolworth’s. She had many temporary jobs over the years. Many of them seasonal, like picking berries in Oregon. At one time, she had a sewing business doing alterations and once worked in a bakery, which she loved. She was a school cafeteria cook and also a cook in a private treatment facility.

The Products of Her Hands

The best experience my sister and I had observing her work habits and ethics was when she spent many summers working cutting apricots for her dad and her brother Stan. She was a whiz at cutting apricots and cut more boxes by far than any of the other workers. A few years later when her brother Stan put together the apricot cutting machine my mom and Stan’s wife Lois were the first to test it out. It was quite something to see how well my mom did operating the new machine and how pleased her brother was. She was also a terrific worker during the walnut harvest, sorting walnuts as the nuts sped by on the conveyor belt. Her hands turned black from handling the walnut husks. Through the years she managed to improve her skills in various art forms——oil painting, egg tempura, sculpting, embroidery, needlepoint and quilting. She took two commercial art correspondence courses and did well, but the nomadic lifestyle at the time made pursuing a career in that field difficult. She excelled in making bread, pies and soups, winning many blue ribbons at fairs and baking contests. In her early 5O’s she designed and built a house in Atascadero, Ca. It seemed there was nothing she could not do —architecture, carpentry, electrical, plumbing. However, after a short time, she sold the house and moved in with her parents to care for them several years.

Retirement Years

When Merriam retired from Cal Poly in 1980, they moved to Citrus Heights CA to be closer to their two daughters. A short time later they bought property next door to her brother Jim and his wife Frankie in Mountain Ranch, near San Andreas, CA. Over the next year or so she developed blueprints for yet another house. This time a tri-level house with a wrap around deck. The project turned out to be especially challenging. She managed the whole construction project single-handedly as by that time Merriam was ill and developing symptoms of Alzheimer’s. Merriam’s brother Ole and nephew Ed came out from Minnesota for several months and laid the foundation and framed the house. This project was no easy feat requiring permits and inspection approvals, ordering building supplies, drilling a well and many other details. All this at age 62 while caring for an ailing husband. Eventually, the project was abandoned, the property sold.

Lorna and Merriam moved back to Sacramento and purchased a properly near daughter Sandi. Daughter Cyndy and husband moved in with Lorna and Merriam to be of support. In April 1994, Merriam was placed in an Alzheimer’s care facility where he stayed to the end of his life. After 49+ years of marriage Merriam passed away in 1995. Lorna struggled to heal emotionally from the loss of her husband and physically from a broken hip but continued to excel in all her artistic talents, making many one of a kind gifts for friends and family as well as donating quilts and knitted blankets to charity.

Back to Her Birthplace

Lorna with brother Stan on left and sister-in-law Lois in the middle.

In 2001 she happily moved from Sacramento to Arroyo Grande where she reconnected with friends and church family from years ago. She enjoyed hosting brunches, lunches, Bible Studies in her home. Feeding people delicious homemade food was one of the things she loved best. In 2002, she moved in with daughter Sandi to what is now the Grieb Farmhouse Inn—the original home of her grandparents Katharina and Konrad Grieb on Todd Lane. Always the giver, she preferred to remain in the background, never expecting recognition or acclaim. Her selflessness was a model for everyone who knew her. She always kept busy as a volunteer for the local food closet, Habitat for Humanity and various quilting guilds. She sewed projects for her church including the offering bags and the choir robes. The day was never complete unless she took time for herself to read, complete a crossword puzzle and enjoy a few good cups of hot, green tea. In the end, she was an inspiration to all her family and friends as she struggled daily with various forms of cancer. She never wavered in her faith and gratitude for a life well-lived. It is amazing that she was born and died within a 100 feet of each other. She is buried in the Arroyo Grande Cemetery with her husband Merriam Erickson and next to her son-in-law Floyd Ferrio. The same cemetery where her grandparents, parents and five siblings are buried. Our family stays together in life and death.

Alice Lorna Grieb Erikson – February 25, 1926 — September 2, 2013 – 87 years, 6 months, 8 days

Written by Sandi Ferrio

Leonard “Carl” Grieb – 8th of the 9 Grieb Children

Grieb Boys. Carl is second from right.

Leonard “Carl” Grieb was born in Arroyo Grande, California on July 27, 1928. He was the 8 of nine children born to Fred and Gertrude (Haven) Grieb. Growing up in a farming family Carl leaned to work hard at an early age. He is still known and respected for his strong work ethic.  His first memory as a child was of a family trip to Santa Ana to visit his Grandma Haven. Another of his earliest memories was the construction of their new home after the previous one was destroyed by fire. He was tied up so that he wouldn’t interfere with the workers. He cried and screamed so loud the workers asked Grandma and Grandpa to let him go. They said that they would just work around him.

Carl attended 8 years at Orchard Street School. He enjoyed many sports in his youth. He participated in soccer, football, basketball, track and boxing.  He wrestled just for fun, and said that no one could beat him. He has always enjoyed competition.  Carl grew up raising animals, buying, selling, and trading. Chickens, rabbits, dogs, horses and cattle. He says that one time he even traded Lorna’s cat! Add goats, pigs, and just about anything else to that list. He is still wheeling and dealing to this day in 2017 at the age of 89.

In 1939, when he was eleven years old, he received a Kentucky Jack for his birthday. His friends, Bob Runels and his sisters, rode bikes or walked along side as they explored all over the area. He even rode out to the Grieb Ranch to check the Water. He had a lot of freedom. He says that if his chores were done he was free to roam.

Carl attended 4 years at Arroyo Grande High School. The high school was then located at Crown Hill. He graduated in l947 with the assistance of Phyllis Runels and Dorothy Ormonde. Phyllis helped him with his math and Dorothy his English and History. During high school he was on the basketball and boxing teams. His senior year he received a medal for boxing, losing only one match after being injured in football. He was also the senior class vice president. Carl continued to self-educate throughout his entire life by reading about livestock and other interests.

During Carl’s high school years he met Barbara Lucille Decker at a Great Western Livestock show in Los Angeles. He was there with his brother Stan and some other friends. Barbara with there with her step brother Bobby Miller, step sister Shellie and friend Nancie Bragg (Dellagana) from Templeton. After meeting they continued to correspond and they got together monthly in Atascadero for the dances at the Grange Hall. In 1949 Carl proposed to Barbara at Knottsberry Farm. They were married on February 12, 1950 in Los Angeles. Carl was managing a dairy and milking cows in Edna at the time. They made their first home in Edna, moving soon to Santa Maria and then to Templeton, all in the first year. Other than a short time in Santa Maria, Carl has lived his entire life in San Luis Obispo County.

Carl and Barbara added three daughters to their family during their years on the dairy that they bought in Templeton. Wynetta, Margie and Connie were all born in Paso Robles between 1951 and 1954. Carl burned the candle at both ends managing their dairy, milking cows, hunting with his coon hounds and riding and roping with friends. Barbara kept busy taking care of the home and the girls. Carl continued the family tradition of putting the children to work at a young age.

In 1956 Carl, Barbara and girls moved to Arroyo Grande. Carl drove truck for a few years and the family lived in town.  In 1958 Carl and Barbara bought a dairy in Oso Flaco. Carl once again owned and operated a dairy with his wife, a hired hand and girls to support him. He also continued to hunt during this time.  After a few years Carl and Barbara sold the dairy and Carl went to work milking cows for the Macagna Dairy in Oso Flaco. He moved his family to the edge of the Nipomo Mesa for about a year.

In 1960 Carl Went to Work for Engle and Gray in Santa Maria. The family moved back to Arroyo Grande. Carl worked for Engle and Gray for the next 25 years. During that time he drove truck, Worked as an oiler on the crane and was the crane operator for many years.  He was an excellent oiler and operator. He accomplished many things that most people would not even attempt.

During the years that Carl worked for Engle and Gray he also raised beef cattle and drop calves from the local dairy. He leased several pieces of land and ranches for grazing. He helped friends gather and brand their cattle as well. He also continued to hunt with his coon hounds and enjoyed raising chickens.

In 1966 Carl and Barbara purchased 10 acres on Huasna Road just out of Arroyo Grande. They moved the family back to the country.  In 1969 they bought the upper part of the Grieb Ranch, the “high hills”, from Grandma and Grandpa Grieb. They did not move at that time. In 1974 they bought 18 acres on Lopez Drive between the ranch and town. Then in 1975 they were able to purchase the property where they currently reside. They initially lived in the little house that Uncle Teddy had put on the property. In 1976 they built the house that they live in now. Margie and Wynetta and their families also lived on the property.  Connie and Stan were living in Illinois at the time. Connie and Stan returned to Arroyo Grande and moved to the ranch in 1979. At that time our entire family was living on the same property.

Carl and Barbara have moved many times during their 66 years of marriage.  Carl usually planted fruit and walnut trees wherever they lived. Barbara made their house a home and was a devoted and loving wife and mother.  She was the glue that held the family together. They always welcomed others into their home and were very generous with everything they had.  Carl provided well for his family and continues to do so.

Carl leading pack horses across the creek, John Muir Wilderness, Sierra National Forest, on the west side of the Sierra Nevada, California

Carl traveled with his family on three vacations. The first was a trip up the California coast to Oregon and the others were to the Midwest to see Barbara’s relatives in Iowa. They visited several national parks and had wonderful family time. He also took his wife and children, as well as his grandchildren and many other friends and family on pack trips to locations on the California coast, to the Sisqoc River and several places in the Sierras. He made several other trips out of state at various times hunting, transporting livestock and visiting friends and relatives.  In 1969 Carl took a motorcycle trip to Mexico with friends and in 1986 traveled to Japan with Barbara to visit with friends there. He has traveled a lot in his life, but he’s always in a hurry to get home. There’s no place like home!

Carl retired from Engle and Gray in 1985. He continued to live on the ranch and leased other ranches as well. He raised cattle, helped others with their cattle, team penned, took hunting trips and pack trips. He bought, sold, and provided cattle for The Brush Poppers for team penning and sorting. He won the team penning championship one year. He enjoyed several years penning and sorting, traveling to various locations with family and friends.

Carl always has good working dogs and good horses. He enjoys the challenge of finding and gathering wild cattle that others can’t round up. He’s known and appreciated for his special skills, tough horses and cow dogs. All of his children and grandchildren learn a lot working with him. He also has several “adopted” daughters brought into his “family” over the years. He is a true cowboy.

At the market with Grandson, Great-grandson and Summer Intern. Summer 2017

At 75 years of age, Carl began a new chapter of his life. He started raising and selling meat goats on the ranch.  He later added cattle, pigs and chickens to his sales. At nearly 89, he still works the ranch everyday.  He buys and sells goats, pigs, cattle and chickens. He can still be seen driving the streets of the area, and the roads of California and Oregon, in his white truck pulling his old White stock trailer. That trailer must have over a million miles on it. You can only imagine how many miles Carl has traveled over the years walking, riding horseback, riding a motorcycle, driving the tractor or the RTV  Kabota. Even though he likes to rest a spell, read and relax, he hasn’t let any grass grow under his feet. He has been an example to all of his family of what it means to be a Grieb.

Currently Carl and Barbara have 4 generations living on the ranch. Connie and Stan have continued to live there and have come alongside Carl. They have enabled and supported him in his latest ventures. Connie has enlisted help from everyone on the ranch, as well as many others.  The legacy of Carl Grieb will live on for many generations.

James Allen Grieb or “Jimmy”

Jimmy with sister Claire

Jimmy with sister Claire.

Growing up in the Grieb Family was always something I felt was a special gift. Even if you were not actually born into the family there was always a place for you around the table or where ever the family gathered.

Hearing a particular story once while sitting with a woman reporter who interviewed Grandma and Grandpa for a newspaper article, I remember them telling a story: During the Great Depression someone stole a pig from the ranch and years later they received a letter of apology and the repayment of the pig in cash. Since they had long forgotten the hog being stolen, and they had not reported the theft to the authorities, they were both tickled by the outcome.

Jimmy with neighbor girl sue

Jimmy with neighbor Sue.

My Dad James Grieb is the youngest of the nine Grieb children. He was born when Grandma was over 40 and she had not planned to have anymore children. Grandpa, who was over 50, wanted one more baby and so she agreed saying, “Fred, he is going to be your child to take care of,” so he agreed. James was Grandpa’s constant companion only to also to be watched carefully by his sister Lorna (Alice) Grieb Erickson and tormented by big brother Carl.

James was the only child born in the Spanish style stucco house in September 1932. The previous homestead had burnt down.

Jimmy as young adultJames served in the Navy from about 1949 until 1956. His travels had him serving from San Diego, California in the Pacific, to Hawaii, to Japan and back to San Diego during the Korean War. When he returned home he planned to marry our Mom, Joan Marie Brown. He had previously fallen head over heels in love with her when she was 13 and cutting apricots for a summer. They would be married July 17, 1957. They had three children: Marla Marie, Sue Ellen and Mark Allan Grieb.

Later Dad would drive truck in the oil fields in Santa Maria, California. From there he and his wife Frankie Jean Griffith built a home in Mountain Ranch, California, where they lived for nearly 20 years. After retiring, they sold their home and relocated to Rocky Point, Oregon where they currently live next door to cousin Dean Grieb.


Story info provided by Marla Lowman, Jimmy’s daughter.

Thanksgiving 2017 – Five Generations

Carl is the 3rd Grieb Generation and Silas the 7th.

Silas the seventh generation made it to the Grieb Farmhouse Inn to celebrate Thanksgiving. We were blessed to have 5 generations represented at the original homestead for Thanksgiving this year.

5 generations

Before our bountiful meal members of the family read parts of Psalm 100.  A psalm of giving thanks:

  1. Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
  2. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.
  3. Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us and we are his.  We are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
  4. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.
  5. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.

Sandi prayed a Thanksgiving prayer,

“Lord, We feel so blessed to have been given such a wonderful family.  We ask that our roots would be deep in your love.  Fill our hearts, friendships and homes with your truth and forgiveness. We thank you for each person, for their unique qualities and special characters.  Watch over each one and keep them safe, fill their lives with your goodness, inspire their hearts to follow you, bless the work of their hands, and weave us all closer together.  Thank you for this food you have faithfully provided.  Amen”

Claire Grieb Sorenson

Born in Arroyo Grande on December 7, 1920 in a little Cottage behind the Grieb Farmhouse, she was the 5th or middle child of Fred and Gertrude Grieb’s 9 children.

Baby Claire

young claireGrowing up, Claire was tall, thin, quiet and loved to read.  Once a week her mother would take her to the library to get several books to read during the week.  A good book and a pile of crackers made for the perfect bedtime until Grandma would yell out, “For heaven’s sake Claire, TURN OUT THAT LIGHT!”  She would read all night if she could.

claire and Lorna fishingClaire Loves the Outdoors

She loved camping and fishing and anything out of doors.  One of her favorite places to camp was Yosemite.  She remembers that her mother would always select camp site 14 as it was close to everything.  Her dad would string a tarp from tree to tree to make a little Grieb fortress and a little privacy. The family would sleep under the stars.  While there she enjoyed fishing and hiking and just plain being out of doors.

Favorite Memory of Growing up in Arroyo Grande

A fond memory of home is a place across the creek and down a little way towards the old Farmhouse where Grandpa had set up a picnic area.  Uncle Art built a barbeque pit and would sometimes put a small dam across the creek to make a little swimming hole for the kids to play in.  Family and friends were always invited to come bring their Sunday meal and join in the fun.  This was always a good time to catch up with what was going on around town.

Grandma Grieb would make deviled eggs – one of Claire’s favorite things to eat and still is.  Olives are also a favorite as she would sneak a can from the kitchen once in a while and go outside and eat the whole can of them all by herself.  When Grandma went to get olives for her potato salad, or her famous “More”, and found there weren’t any, she always knew Claire took them.  Grandma Grieb just knew everything.

Once in a while Grandpa would want to take a drive out to Huasna. Grandma and Grandpa would ask if anyone wanted to go along.  Claire always said yes as she loved going for rides and still does.  It worked out great for both Grandpa and Claire as she was the one to open and close the cattle gates.  She loved it.  Grandma also liked going to the beach once in a while and Claire usually was the one to go with her.  She would never turn down an adventure away from home.  They both enjoyed the cool air.

Claire’s Role in the Grieb Family

For some reason she was chosen chief bottle washer (dishwasher) for the family of 11.  What a chore for one person to wash and dry all those dishes and pots and pans alone.  Brother Stanley would take pity on her once in a while and would dry for her.  If she didn’t get the counter where she put the clean dishes washed off before starting, Stanley would sometimes jokingly put a clean dish or two that was put on that counter back in the dirty dish pile for her to wash again, telling her it wasn’t clean.  What a prankster.  She wasn’t too happy about that.  One day she thought that if she snuck out and left the dishes that someone else would do them.  Nope, they were there waiting for her when she got back.  She didn’t try that again.

Education, Marriage and Raising a Family

Claire graduated from Arroyo Grande High School and went on to attend Cuesta College.  After attending for a few months, she met her future husband Sterling Sorenson.

March 17, 1941 Claire married Sterling and had 4 children, John, Bill, Sterling Jr., and Theresa.  Not working outside of the house other than a few seasonal jobs raising her children was her main priority.

Theresa, Bill, John, Sterling Jr 1950

Sorenson Home 1950: Theresa, Bill, John, Sterling Jr.

Claire and family moved a lot and everywhere they moved was her favorite place to live as it was always a new adventure.  Growing up in Arroyo Grande was the place she loved the most though.

We don’t have a wedding picture of her and Sterling.  This is one of the last pictures we have of her and Sterling together taken in late 2000 or early 2001.  They were married 60 years.  Sterling passed away July 25, 2001.

Sterling and Claire

She and Sterling had a garden no matter where they lived always growing plenty to feed the big family for months to come.  Canning and freezing  what they couldn’t eat fresh to feed the family throughout the year.

Claire as a Great Grandmother

Claire has 8 grandchildren and 12 great grandchildren with a few step  grandchildren as well.  She lost her oldest son John in 2012 and Grandson Sterling Keith in 2015.

Great Grandson Evan, just days oldFrom January to April 2015 she spent time in Montana with daughter Theresa waiting for her latest little great grandson to come.  Evan came 6 weeks early as momma had complications. Momma spent 3 or 4 months in the Missoula, Montana hospital 2 hrs away from home in Helena to save her and baby. The day Evan was born there was a blizzard on MacDonald Pass in Montana, The drive to Missoula from Helena was not passable until the next day.  Snow is beautiful but it sure can raise havoc when driving. What a great adventure Theresa and Claire had driving through the snow the next day for nearly 3 hrs to see him. What a little thing he was.

Claire, Always Ready for an Adventure

In HawaiiAs a child she never dreamed that she would ever be traveling and in later years was very fortunate to have traveled all over Europe and Scandinavia. In addition, for almost a year, she and Sterling lived in Ballerup, Denmark.  She has seen much of the United States including Hawaii and Alaska both of which she loves and has traveled to many times.  She has also been to Japan to visit grandson & family that lived and worked there for a while.  At 95+ she is still always ready for another adventure.on train in Alaska

Bio submitted by Theresa Blasquez

Ridding the Ranch of Rodents

Oh Rats!  The Summer of 2017 was filled with getting rid of lots of rodents – squirrels, mice and rats – at Grieb Ranch.  The job fell primarily to Connie who tried many different methods of getting rid of the pests. If you have any secrets to getting rid of squirrels, rats and mice by the hundreds let Connie know. Even with all the rodents she has eliminated, she could still use some advice!

Connie on the Rodent Hunt

Grieb Ranch was beginning to be inundated with rodents, especially ones impacting the living space of the ranch residents. Starting in late May and still working on ridding rodents through October, Grieb Ranch caught, or disposed of 138 Squirrels. In the weeks of October the pest hunting focused mainly on trapping over 63 mice.  Rats are the hardest pests to catch. The tally for rats stands at only 4 thus far.

Critter Damage Control

Most of the time Connie simply leaves nature to run its own course . . . however, the health hazards and the damage these little creatures do is UNREAL!  These pesky critters carry on a variety of damaging activities like: chewing holes in the walls of the house, carrying rice from the kitchen into the bedroom, chewing holes in Great Grandma’s handmade afghans and much more.  Not only that, they cause all to scream as they scurry away trying not to be caught.

Grieb Ranch has employed a wide variety of methods designed to catch these pesky and sneaky critters. They have tried the Ez Set, Squirrelinator, snap traps, Havaheart, 5 gallon buckets with rollers and more.

Critter Encounters

Connie had some interesting encounters with many different types of critters on her quest for pest elimination.  Once when checking on the Squirrelinator trap – which holds the live pests in an open metal crate – Connie found it had attracted a rattlesnake!


rattler guarding the squirrelinerator-crop

She also realized migrating eagles were beating up the trap to get at the squirrels.  Eventually she removed the trap so the eagles could hunt their own squirrels.  Her favorite discovery was finding a baby gopher snake attached to the mouse in the EZ Set trap.  Of course she released the mouse so the snake could finish its meal.  Hopefully the snake will catch many more mice, just not ones in the set traps.

Gopher eating a mouse in a trap

Ridding the ranch of rodents continues as more squirrels, mice and rats are caught in the traps set up around the parts of the ranch where the people reside.

Frederick Arch Grieb (Teddy)

boys with family

Ted Grieb with his brother, Connie

Teddy was born April 19, 1918 at home in Arroyo Grande, Ca, the 4th child, 3rd son, to Fred and Gertrude Grieb.

with the boys

The Grieb Boys: Ted, Jim, Fred Sr., Stan, Art, Carl and Connie

He was a quiet and reserved boy growing up and worked with his father and brothers on the Grieb Ranch.  He loved animals, going horseback riding and spending time outdoors.  He had a good sense of humor and at times played practical jokes.

Teddy was known for his hunting skills.  Every year he would go deer hunting and bring back a deer.  His mother would use some of the meat for roasts and stews, but a lot of it was used to make venison jerky.  The meat was prepared with salt and red pepper, strung on string and hung on the clothesline to dry.  Once in a while he would bring home enough quail to feed the whole family.

Fishing was also a favorite activity for Ted-salmon, rockfish, clams and abalone.  Anything he brought home was cleaned and prepared for his mother to cook.

He completed 3 years of high school before he dropped out in 1936 to work full time.  He was a hard worker.  At one time, he was employed by Sheila Varian to tend her Arabian horses.  He also worked on several ranches, doing general farm and ranch work.

going off to serviceOn December 7, 1941, Teddy was driving up the coast to go abalone diving with brother Carl and friend Bob Sewell, when he heard on the radio that Pearl Harbor had been bombed.  On February 21, 1942, at age 24, Teddy enlisted in the Army for the duration of the war.  He was first stationed at the Presidio of Monterey, Ca.  His sister Claire loved to correspond with him and he always wrote her back.


in the serviceHe was shipped overseas and served on the front lines in the South Pacific.  He experienced horrific and unspeakable things in Papua, New Guinea.  He went into battle with 200 men and was one of 19 to survive.  In his own troop, he was the only survivor. Severely wounded, he spent many months in the hospital.  To make matters worse, he contracted malaria due to the wet and humid conditions on the island.

MilitaryHis family did not think they would ever see him again.  When he did come home, he was severely traumatized and filled with shrapnel.  The shrapnel worked out of his head and neck for the rest of his life.  His daughter Kathy kept his army uniform and eventually donated it to the Veteran’s Center in Fresno.  For many years after the war, Ted would spend time with his army buddies.

In 1948-49 he owned a property in the Oak Park area.  He lived in a small house and rented the larger house to friends Bob and Dorothy Sewell.



On June 23, 1952, he married Doris Mallory.  His dad, Fred bought two motel units and moved them to the ranch property and put them together as housing for him and his family.  He had four children, Kathy 1953, Robert 1954, Floyd 1955 and Larry 1957.

While residing on the ranch, he supported his family by working in a rock quarry, selling flagstone.  He made a good living as he sold good quality flagstone accomplishing the work equivalent of four or five men in one day.

Ted was a loving father.  Kathy recalls that he would read to her and taught her to read chapter books.  He gave her Strawberry Roan which she has kept and treasured all these years.  She also said Ted was willing to sit down and talk to his kids about their problems and figure out the answers.

with his daughter

Ted with his daughter, Kathy


In later years, Ted lived near his daughter Kathy and babysat his granddaughters.  He fed them when they came home from school and helped them with their homework.  He was very kind and loving.  Kathy’s’ family was heartbroken when in 1996 he moved to Yuma, AZ and bought a mobile home near his son Robert.

eatingTed lived the rest of his life in Yuma, fishing and hunting and spending his time outdoors.  He would occasionally visit his brother Carl and other family members in Arroyo Grande.

He died at his home on July 24, 2004.  He is buried in the Arroyo Grande Cemetery next to his father and mother Fred and Gertrude Grieb.  He was a good man who will always be missed by his family.

Contributed by Kathy Martin, Claire Sorenson, Carl and Barbara Grieb and Sandi Ferrio


Memories of Connie and Ida Mae Grieb


Conrad Grieb on his Wedding Day.

Conrad Grieb (Son of Fred Grieb) and Ida Mae (Campbell) have quite an interesting history. They left a wonderful legacy, not only with their four kids, Dean, Elaine, Richard, and Georgia, but with the Grieb and Campbell families and many friends.


Connie and Ida Mae met when she was living with the Chandlers. Ida was essentially a housekeeper and babysitter for the Chandlers. The Chandler home was just across the driveway from the Fred Grieb Sr. home off Halcyon Road in Arroyo Grande. We do not know any real particulars as to their courting.
They were married at the home of Fred and Gertrude Grieb by a local minister . . . a basic but very warm family wedding in November 1940.

Connie had purchased a ranch in Los Berros, about 5 miles from Arroyo Grande in 1938.  He was always a “man of the soil”. The ranch house was approaching 100 years old when he bought the ranch.  It didn’t have a bathroom which meant there was an outside privy about 100 feet from the house.  Top priority was to install a bathroom shortly after Connie and Ida were married.

Dean was born in 1941, Elaine in 1943, Richard in 1944, and Georgia Mae in 1946, each brought into the world with love.  All four children were raised in the old house, each having very fond memories of the good times shared as a family.



Connie always involved the boys in his daily farming/ranching activities, mentoring both Dean and Richard with many skills he had involving cattle, farming, apricots and walnuts, etc.  Ida was mentor for girls, teaching them everything from domestic house chores, sewing, and assuring they grew up to be proper ladies.  Connie and Ida did a great job!

Life during the 40’s and 50’s was not as complex as it is today.  The kids played outside did not have TV, computers, i-phones, etc.  Many values that were shared by Connie and Ida are presently the threshold of their offspring.


Connie and Ida always had an extended family with at least one extra youngster for dinner or staying over-night.  Avila Beach was always a favorite with Connie after a full day of work during the summer.  He loved the ocean, so off to Avila with family for a swim and hot-dog roast they would go. These outings provided very fond memories for all the kids.

Connie was a Odd Fellow and Ida was a Rebecca with the Arroyo Grande IOOF Lodge, each for more than 50 years.  They both went through the various chairs of the organization and enjoyed it to no end.

Conrad Grieb Fishing 2017-01-27 005.JPG

Connie (left) loved fishing.

Connie was always a man of the outdoors.  He loved farming, hunting, fishing, getting together with family and friends, horseshoes, and barbecues.  Ida loved to play cards, tell a joke or two, and prepare scrumptious dinners.  In later years, both enjoyed traveling the western states and frequently stopping at a casino.  The both enjoyed playing Keno.


Connie passed away in 1987.  Ida passed away in 2006.  Their loving legacy will live for many years to come with family, friends, and mere acquaintances.

Gertrude Grieb


Love, Gertrude 1931


Graduation from Nursing School

 Gertrude Grieb

Gertrude was second child born to Fred and Gertrude Grieb on December 12, 1913, in Arroyo Grande, California. Following gradation from high school,  she attended Samuel Merritt Hospital School of Nursing, graduating June 26, 1937.  She worked in Arroyo Grande until her marriage to Donald Elmore Shaffer March 9, 1940.  She had two children Sharon Lea and Sharleen Eleanor. Donald, Gertrude and the girls made their home in Arroyo Grande until the early 60’s when they moved to Smith River, California. In 1996 they moved to Yucaipa, California to be near her daughters, where she lived until she passed away July 26, 2003.


Gertrude, Donald and the Girls

Those are the facts, now let us really tell you about our mom.

Family was important to her. Going to Grandma’s house on Sundays when Dad was working was a favorite thing to do.  She was always up to join a game of 500 or just sit and visit after an informal drop-in family pot luck dinner. Mom loved to cook.  She had her favorite “secret” recipes for enchiladas, “More”, pie crust and others which of course she taught to us. 
Sharon inherited more of the cooking gene than Sharleen and she continues to pass down the family favorites. Mom loved making candy and eating it too, even though the bathroom scale kept track of every piece she ate! Divinity, pinoche and fudge were among her favorites, and she would help us make taffy in the kitchen just so we could have the fun of cooking with her and having a taffy pull.
fishing-at-lake-alanor-ca-1947-1024x580She taught us how to cook, make pies, cookies, and make use of the abundance that came from the orchards, garden, lakes and ocean. That we had been taught how to prep fresh vegetables, prepare clams, abalone, trout and salmon, as well as cut up a chicken or rabbit or deer served us well over our adult years of outdoorsy life. And in those pre-permanent press fabric years, because of mom, we knew how to iron with a mangle, be pretty efficient with an iron, to be independent.

Mom had a green thumb and had a vegetable garden wherever she lived. In Arroyo Grande and in Smith River she was aided by green/lath houses and in Yucaipa, the southern California sun provided produce nearly year round. She shared the wealth from her efforts with all who would take “just a couple more tomatoes and zucchinis” please?  And then there were the flowers! Mom didn’t have a formal flower garden. She just had flowers. Lots and lots of flowers. She belonged to the Garden Club and took so much pleasure in growing things of beauty to please both the palate and the eye.

Gertrude took being a mom very seriously. She did not work outside of the house when we were young. She put her artistic talents to work and went into business making “Wee Tuck In” gift cards that she sold in various boutique clothing and gift stores and florists in the south county area. These were decorated with shell flowers that she patiently taught us to make as well as with some charming brush strokes. When we were teens she returned to nursing, but only as a special care nurse where she could pick and choose her shifts.


Fishing, camping and cooking all things Gertrude loved to do.

Mom loved to fish and camp. When their daughters were young Mom and Dad took us each year to Lake Almanor trout fishing. Salmon fishing was a passion and she and Dad did more and more of this as their daughters got older.  The salmon run on the Smith River was in November so arrangements were made for us stay with family for a week or two so we would not miss school while Mom caught and canned huge King salmon.  When her daughters were grown and no longer living at home, another of Gertrude’s passions became evident.  She loved to travel. Sharleen asked her parents to go to Hawaii one year for Christmas. Don did not want to fly. Mom surprised us all, even herself, when she and her daughter boarded a plane that December and Don spent Christmas alone.  After that they both traveled to Hawaii  with their daughters and spent many spring and summer times traveling the Al-Can highway in their truck and small camper for weeks at a time enjoying Canada and their beloved Alaska.


Gertrude enjoyed Hawaii

Gertrude had her first and only birthday party at age 80. Her daughters were in the midst of planning a bash for their mom’s 90th when she, in a matter of days, took ill and died.  Mom had always thought she would outlive our dad. There were so many places yet to go, things yet to see, foods yet to taste, sights, sounds, smells yet to experience. But it was not to be. Don  and Gertrude were married for 68 years. That fact speaks more about the character of Gertrude Grieb Shaffer than a thousand words on paper can. She was a good woman, a faithful wife willing to compromise for the benefit of the family, and the best mother two daughters could have dreamed of having.
Sharon Shaffer Marks and Sharleen Shaffer De Tomaso


Gertrude, Sharon, Marianne and Savanna


Gertrude with her siblings.