Master recycler, Elmer Long, has created a Bottle Tree Ranch in Oro Grande, on the famous Route 66.
He and his wife, Linda, are perhaps the most hospitable people I’ve ever met. We were warmly welcomed and offered refreshments as they ticked off the different countries of their visitors so far that day. I was happy to be able to add England to a substantial list.
The bottle trees began as a way to use the antique bottles Elmer’s father had collected. Each tree is capped by some kind of found art, discarded treasures, to Elmer’s mind at least. The Ranch already has a forest of bottle trees, but Elmer showed us his trove of many more found objects, all waiting to be placed at the top of their tree.
It’s a remarkable, quirky place – an embodiment of an individual spirit, not afraid to go his own way, whatever others might think. If visitors arrive at a time when the ranch is closed, the bottle trees can be seen from the road.
Update: Elmer Long sadly passed away in 2019, but his bottle tree forest lives on.