The tail of a flu

This story began a few weeks ago with us looking after our wonderful, clever, enthusiastic grandson, Talon. His parents went away for a few days and we had him for 3 days. He IS a daycare kid  🥹and so was coughing when he arrived. Given the circumstances there was nothing we could do about that, and kids are just so lousy at covering their cough etc etc etc.  We quickly resolved ourselves to the idea that we were going to GET THIS COLD.  I guess we bargained with ourselves,……fair enough,….it has been years since have been sick….. our turn…. etc… The last day we had him we started to feel the signs and knowingly looked at each other….. here we go.

Now what we were expecting was a few days of feeling lousy, cough, runny nose , then a few days of feeling not so bad, and that would be about it.

Well that is nothing like what we got.  I should point out here that we are fully vaccinated for Covid AND got our influenza shots last November (and incidentally SO did Talon, our grand son).

Now Influenza is quite a different puppy to a cold 🐶…… 7-10 days of fevers, productive cough, general body aches, fatigue and copious amounts of mucus. 

So 10 days later, we are starting to feel better. We have gone through 2 cases of toilet paper, and twice a day have had a nice little fire ….burning bits of it.  (note we use toilet paper instead of Kleenex because we cannot find Kleenex made of bamboo)

We do not think we have ever been this sick, we might have, …… and forgotten about it…. But we do not think so.

Talon, our grandson, on the other hand was better by the time he got back to his parents. Were we making all this up?????

Now I did not sit down to write this to attract sympathy (…but who does not like a little sympathy when one is sick🤧) After much contemplation, (lotsa time on my hands) I see that this story illustrates some issues about vaccines/influenza, that are not always given. SO why did we get sick, we had done everything in our power to prevent influenza?

Well how good IS the flu vaccine? The flu vaccine reduces your need to seek medical care by 60%. Ah…. so it is not the be all end all prevention for flu. One thing that is quite clear, the flu vaccine does not prevent you from getting the flu. This is the most important part of all of this. You still get the flu when are exposed to it.

However if you look at that 4 year old, who is sliding down that hill (I should add he climbed up MANY times in order to slide down) was a kid with influenza….. Influenza that has been tempered with a vaccine, that is… So basically taking a more severe illness and turning it into a cold. In the fall, as you may recall, the children’s hospitals all over were overflowing with children with influenza and RSV.

The vaccine clearly did not work that well on us. We feel we are pretty darned healthy, we are able to walk miles every day and are going off in the fall to walk Hadrians Wall in England. (10 miles a day) We feel we eat a very healthy diet… the ONLY risk factor for us is that I will be 67 this year and Ken 69. I guess it kept us from needing medical attention, or hospitalization.??

So if the influenza vaccine only protects you by 60%, we really should be working hard at reducing the incidence of influenza in the general population. This would decrease the chances of being exposed to it in the first place. Only 50% of people get the flu vaccine, what if that number were 80%? What would happen if 80% of the population got the flu vaccine? Well what has been shown with our more historic infectious diseases such as polio, smallpox… etc was that when 80-85% of the population is vaccinated, the disease become rare. (Even though the vaccines do not work on everyone). I graduated from med school in 1990 and have never seen a case of polio, small pox, or rubella. (I had rubella as a child)

I guess my goal here was to put a bug in your ear to begin thinking about getting the flu vaccine in the fall. It could either protect you from getting the flu, OR it might prevent you from passing the flu onto a susceptible person, or who knows you might save someone else’s life by stopping the chain of infection. (hope it is someone nice)

I firmly feel that vaccines save lives, but not necessarily your own….. someone around you.

I must say that we feel very fortunate to have been able to enjoy such a wonderful view during this illness and I am very thankful to Jeffrey Archer for writing such great series books, that I could sit and read all day.

So we are now at the tail end of our flu and feeling so fortunate for our health. Tucker just thinks that we are a couple of lazy slackers, and he does not hesitate to tell us so. He is keeping us in physical shape by barking to get in, then barking to get out etc etc etc.

Much love and health to all this Easter Sunday…, Janet, Ken and Tucker, the annoyingly healthy dog.

How many deaths will it take till he knows, that too many people have died?

Well I for one feel that way too many people have died…. long ago. So I went to an antiwar rally in Washington DC. Last I heard 140,000 Ukrainians have died in this war and no one is counting the Russians. All the while Ukrainians are being cheered on as being brave and patriotic. What good has that done for the Ukrainians? What good is being brave and patriotic? if it usually makes you dead?

Look at all the brave Americans who thought they were fighting for something that had something to do with 911, when actually it was to reestablish control over the oil in Iraq. They were told that they were fighting for their country??? They thought that they were being patriotic, in taking actions that led to the deaths of a million people.

I guess I am angry with those who feel that the only way out of this is for Putin to retreat,….. What if he doesn’t? Do all of those lives lost in “waiting” for Putin to retreat worth nothing? Since 2015, and before this invasion, 15,000 have been killed in the eastern areas of Ukraine. (Donbas) The Ukraine military against Russian separatists. Ukraine has 2 parts, the west (USA) only sees ONE Ukraine, but there are 2. The event that started all of this was in 2014 is called a revolution by the west,(the American supported part of Ukraine), but it is called a coup by the eastern part of Ukraine. To see pictures of the scores of “revolutionaries” storming the home of Victor Yanukovych, looked an awful lot like the January 6 event in the US, its just that one was considered treason and another considered a “revolution”. It all depends on how you look at it, and how you look at it depends on who told you how to look at it.

Me talking to the media…. at the rage against the war machine rally

We all get our information somewhere. Sadly most mainstream media does not just tell you the news, they also tell you what to think about the news. For instance, they will never mention Crimea, and Russia’s control over it without also mentioning that the election in Crimea (to determine what country Crimea wanted to be part of), was a sham. How does the media know it was a sham? Why would the majority of Russian speaking people chose to vote to be part of Ukraine? No one has ever given proof that the election was a sham. It is a lie and the more times a lie is told it eventually becomes the truth in the minds of those who are not paying attention.

Crimea was given to Ukraine back in the 50s by USSR as a gesture, of course at the time it was not significant because they were all part of the same country. It was done in good faith that Ukraine would never turn against Russia. A recent quote from Naom Chomsky “Nobody is going to pour the truth into your brain, its something you have to find out for yourself?

Apparently Rachel Maddow has called us (this rally) Pro Russian. A great example of how the media lies, I was there and there was nothing pro anything, other than peace. She has twisted a beautiful event of people coming together for peace into something bad, and that is what the media does, all the time. This is NOT journalism, Journalism would be going to the rally and interviewing people and listening to the speeches, but Rachel Maddow is not a journalist.

It is hard to feel strongly about something when everyone disagrees with you…. which is why I came to this event.

Back in the Iraq war, one in which 85% of Americans supported, I felt very alone in my views…. and coined a term……. “even when everyone seems to disagree with you, it still does not mean you are wrong”. Any time you question this war, you are a “Putin sympathizer”, always always always avoiding the narrative. After all he did invade Ukraine, which I do feel was very wrong. I do however feel that even more wrong was that NATO (the US) refused to reassure him that they would not allow Ukraine to join NATO. That is all it would have taken to prevent this war.

NATO really is a terrorist organization and the key is to make sure that everyone is very afraid, to ensure that they all feel that they NEED NATO to protect them. REALLY WHAT are we all afraid of? If NATO did not exist, this war would not exist. I cannot imagine as a Canadian what it would feel like if there was a massive military complex who’s sole goal was to destroy Canada, and then the US were to join up…OH MY……the only country that we have a border with, joining an alliance against us.

I guess mostly, I would have thought that the world might have come to the realization that we just cannot fight wars anymore. I do not believe that this war is about Ukraine anymore, it is a proxy war being fought between the US and Russia.

It is not a war that can be won on a battlefield. There is NO Military solution to this. Have you noticed that with every new type of weapons the US advances to Ukraine, that Russia retaliates and kills more Ukrainians. Is the answer really MORE WEAPONS??? Are more weapons achieving anything? The idea is to weaken Russia, no matter how many Ukrainian lives it costs. Many Democrat and Republican congress members own shares in weapon manufacturer companies. Talk about conflict of interest.

Putin is criticized for jailing those who oppose him while the US jails whistleblowers. Not a lot of difference there. Julianne Assange is a journalist is serving several life sentences for revealing the American war crimes in Iraq. Daniel Hale is in prison for revealing details about the US drone program and all of the innocents killed. Israel just mows down journalists who oppose them.

And Zelinsky has said that he will not give up any land to Russia….. WELL BULLY for him, it is his people who are dying to save Crimea and the Donbas, while he flits around demanding more weapons so that more of his people can die while he can say that he never gave Russia an inch. How many Ukrainians lives are worth keeping a part of Ukraine that was made up largely of Russian separatists? Oh and of course Zelinsky wants everyone to believe that Putin is planning to take over the rest of the world after Ukraine…. (what planet is he on??) Of course it is just a ruse to pressure Europe to give him more weapons. Do you know how much money and people it takes to defeat, occupy and control another country?? Zelinsky is sending out teenagers to die so that he can maintain control over ALL OF UKRAINE. I guess I have always been more of a John Lennon believer. Why not sit down, Putin and Zelinsky without the US there to interfere….Draw new lines. Draw lines that have something to do with the people who live there.

Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion, too

Finally I want to say something positive about this rally as it was very different from any I have attended in Washington DC. The thing is that the Anti war movement disappears when there is a democrat in the White House, so most people are not aware of the countries that were destroyed by the US during Obama’s terms. It is like the media thinks that a democratic president can do no wrong. Anytime I criticize Biden, people assume I am a Trumper, but no, I am not a tribal person, I believe every issue must be looked at on its own merit. People came together from every side to oppose war, to encourage the truth to come out, after all, it is about time. Russia is not our enemy, China is not our enemy, Iran is not our enemy and the Ukraine is not our enemy. Rachel Maddow and the massive international conglomerate she works for is our enemy for trying to make us hate other people.

Thank you for reading, much love from Janet, Ken and Tucker ………who missed me BIGTIME while I was in in Washington DC with my sister (the one in front of me in this Democracy Now picture)

Oh and, does this look like a pro Russian rally? Rachel Maddow, you are a twit!

How many years can a mountain exist…

How many years does a mountain exist before it is washed to the sea?

Well it appears that all of the mountains are on their way to the sea, (eventually) and in doing so….. in some places….reveal their secret gems. I guess the fact that mountains are eroding is what makes for all of the fun of rock hounding.  As the gems become exposed they too erode and scatter down the washes, leaving evidence for “prospectors” like Ken and I. (and Tucker)

The two pictures above are of Turtle mountains….. California along hwy 95

Recently we have given up on our Rock books, instead just looking out at the mountains and saying….”lets go see what is on that mountain”. The technique we use is akin to the childs game…. warmer warmer warmer… colder .. warmer.  Seeing bits and pieces of cool rocks we look closer and look up.  Knowing that water always flows downhill and so do rocks, we follow the trail of secrets up, up, up. Some times the trails peter out ….. sometimes they reveal veins, or seams in the rock. Seams of opal, chalcedony, crystals …..

This picture was taken in mountains along hwy 78 eastern California

We are essentially lazy prospectors, and so we do not hammer away at the seams to extract larger bits of rock, we just pick up what the elements (winds water and temperatures) have broken off chunks for us to just pick up 😀

What we found in all the hills/mountains we went up is that the views were amazing and the odd formations were interesting. Always curious as to why those rocks are there.🤔

We really wish we had more knowledge of why certain rocks are on one place and not another. We have read a lot about geology, but like any area of education….. without the basics, it is hard to fully understand some parts. Despite this we DID find lots of cool rocks around the veins/seams in the rocks. AND took home a few….


And this rather tiny skeleton was maybe 3 inches long??? could not figure out what it could have been.

Of course Tucker was pretty darned excited about our amazing discoveries….

..and trust him to find a few amazing things of his own….

Sadly he always buries the bones, despite the rocky ground covering OUCH….to his nose.

There never seems to be a shortage of US military adventures going on …..We watched these guys for awhile, there WAS a hose between them and they were flying slowly… I guess they have to stay up in the air in case some foreign flying object might stray into their airspace. Or could they be training for adventures in foreign lands?🤔

I guess the other part of all of this, is the very deluxe “accommodations” along the way.

This is along hwy 78 south of Blythe

Mojave national reserve….

Well there you have a snapshot of our recent adventures. Thank you for reading, Janet Ken and Tucker (our ever present co adventurer)

Caverns, Cacti and cute little gems……

Our most noteworthy adventure recently has been a place we have been to in the past, but did not “take the tour” and so we did this time. Kartchner Caverns State Park.

These caves were found in 1974 when Randy Tufts took a friend (Gary Tenens) back to a sinkhole he had found years before, to investigate. They smelled Bat Guano and felt a warm breeze, a good sign that they had found a cave, and so started “exploring”. It took the quite some time for them to fully explore the caves and to find the major chambers, but they kept the caves secret for 14 years. They were aware of the risks of vandalism and without careful consideration of preservation the beautiful caverns would be destroyed. Can you imagine finding something like this?

The discovery of the cave was finally made public in 1988 when the landowners sold the area to the state for development as a park and show cavern. Prior to its grand opening in 1999, the state spent $28 million on a high-tech system of air-lock doors, misting machines and other equipment designed to preserve the cave.

I was unable to take any pictures… because when you do the tour, in fact, you cannot take anything into the cave with you. (so all photos are shamelessly stolen) If you touch any of the rock, you need to tell the guides so that they can put a marker on the spot so it can be cleaned at the end of the day. Apparently any oil from the skin, or fluff from your clothing will stop the rock from its natural formation and require extensive work to repair, if not cleaned right way. The cave has 98% humidity and 70+ degrees F temps, so I am sure it would be ripe for bacteria as well. So you go inside one heavy metal door and that one has to close before the next one is opened… to minimize the outside air going into cave, and drying it out. Apparently this cave is still alive whereas others are now considered to be dead. Our tour guide said that Carlsbad caverns are no longer “living caves”.

We stayed at the campground in the park and did one of the many scenic hikes, this picture is actually of the hills that are above the caves. All of it sits under those hills.

Sadly Gary Tufts who made this amazing discovery and protected it so well died at the age of 53 of bone marrow disorder, myelodysplasia. He certainly was an interesting person, if you read this NYtimes article.

I have never been much of a gem person, and do not actually wear any jewelry, but we have been on this search for Sapphires to use for a new “engagement/wedding bands”. Ken lost his wedding band at year 5 of our marriage. He was used to giving anaesthetics in the operating room (his first several years as a doctor he was a GP/anaesthetist). THEY did not have to take off jewelry in the OR. He did a special training thing in Vancouver where he had to scrub in the OR and he had not worked out what to do with his wedding band, so he tied to to his scrubs and the ring went into the laundry at Vancouver general hospital and was never seen again, so he replaced it. So now after having lost mine, I am going to replace mine. So I have bought some sapphires from Madagascar at the Tucson gem show. Still need to figure out what to do with them…. most likely will find someone to make the rings for me. The Gem show was amazing thousands and thousands of gems, diamonds, sapphires and any you could think of. Hard to know why we bought 4 of them, but…. they were so pretty and the picture does not do them justice.

We are now staying at Organ Pipe Cactus National monument. Home to the Organ pipe cactus. South and west of Tucson.

The Organ pipe is not as common as the Saguero cactus often seen in Arizona landscapes. The plant has a short trunk and multiple stems that grow from it. These stems rarely branch but rather grow annually from the tip of the last growth. The mature plant can reach a width of 3.5 m (12 ft). Each stem has twelve to nineteen 10 mm (38 in) high ribs that bear dark brown to black spines that turn gray as it matures. It takes 150 years to reach maturity. This campground is very cool and has no electric hook ups. The best part is that they separate the generators from the NON generators, so that the ones of us who have solar panels do not have to listen to generators. (well WE think that is cool). There are many hikes leading from this campground, but sadly dogs are not allowed on them, so we were only able to do the perimeter trail.

So we shall move on today because for us… it is all about the dog..

So on another note ♩♬♫…… Veterans for peace RADIO HOUR, interviewed me and played many of my songs. They wanted the stories behind the songs I had written. They posted the interview as a Soundcloud file, but many people were unable to open it so I have downloaded it and put it on dropbox so people can download and play….

enjoy…… These songs were written about the invasion of Iraq, in 2003 and the subsequent side effects.

So to end …. this is an amazing piece of art work…….

Made of recycled spark plugs…at the gem show.

So Bye for now, much love Janet, Ken and Tucker, the spoilt rotten dog who has taken over all of our seats in the Motor home. 🐕‍🦺☮️☮️

Quartzsite, something for everyone, and I mean EVERYONE!

SOOOO Ken has gone to visit a friend this morning and I have the whole motorhome to myself. All 250 square feet of it (well except for Tucker, just me and tucker and the motorhome). Time to make bread, bake Tofu, write blog.

We have been here for almost 2 weeks, which is kind of long for us, but we challenged ourselves to stick around until the official rock show, the POWWOW. Starting January 18-22

Now the most obvious reason to come to Quartzsite is for the rocks, and that is what initially drew us here. Everything that can be done to a rock…..has been done to a rock …..and is here on sale in Quartzsite. There are many less official rock events that actually start building in mid December. Sellers travel from all over the world to sell rocks in one form or another here in Quartzsite. The Desert garden show started officially January 6th, but unofficially mid December.

So to start with the largest…. rocks. They are shipped in these huge… oil Barrels. Large boulders of rock that SOMEONE might find appealing, often that cannot be found elsewhere. We saw stuff from Australia, Morocco, china, Madagascar ….and many parts of US,. We bought the rocks we used in our bedroom floor by this means, last year. Of course you would have to have some sort of saw in order to be able to utilize these huge boulders. They sell by the pound and usually anywhere from 3-10 dollars a pound trending upwards to much higher for much more valuable rocks.

There are rocks with interesting calcite or other forms of designs with in them. These ones are usually bought as display pieces.

These ones are large boulders of a rock called Fordite

This is forte after it has been worked with and made in to pieces that can be used to make jewelry.

Does it look familiar at all??? Well the “boulders” come from using a pick ax on the walls of a car manufacturers paint rooms….just many layers of car paint over many years. 😀

These are some boulders we bought for 30 dollars a lb. You can see that there is a window to give you an idea of what is inside the rocks, and we decided that the colours would match what we have planned for our LR floor. As you can see the less processed you get something the cheaper it is, but the more unknowns come with it.

Many types of stone are carved into shapes, some more useful than others. The people at this booth were quite surprised by how many people asked what THESE were for 🤔 Stocking STUFFERS.

Personally, I was not sure what someone could use heart shaped rocks for?🤔. Or round ones

and then..these things which I believe are a form of Chrystal that forms in metals ???

AND then we buy beautiful things that match our kitchen…

These are slabs, essentially 1/4 inch slices of rocks that are sold to people who do jewelry who might buy a slab or 2 of a certain type of rock and then create a series of earrings, pendants rings etc out of these pieces. And of course there are many of these jewellers who are selling these sets in other areas of quartzsite. So each slab has a price on it…7 dollars or 10….. etc

Every year here, there are OTHER things that people have created that contain rocks. I found these guys kind of gaudy.

These pictures below are large piles of very small tumbled stone, each pile seems to have created a different look. They come from China and the lady at the booth said that this was a whole new way she was experimenting with selling rocks. Our interest in them is our future plans with epoxy.

They are sold much like the stuff in the bulk section of the grocery stores….. each item price/grams..

These are the ones we bought, Turquoise, Peridot, and coral, and a few other mixtures. We are thinking of filling the cracks in our floor with these rocks with epoxy to glue them in.

So this is just the desert garden rock show, and the official Pow Wow does not start until the 18th, and the reason we are waiting for that to open is that we think it might be more likely to find an engagement type of ring there. STORY behind it. 📕📕 Several years ago we were out rock hounding in the middle of nowhere and when I got back to the jeep I realized that the diamond from my engagement ring was GONE and the ring fairly damaged… Dammit Janet, can’t you just look after stuff 🥹🥹 …… well actually…. no,,,, I tend to be hard on stuff!! Ken is sort of like HO HUM…. he is used to me.🤔 Years ago we used to use the Jeff Foxworthy line “if it ain’t broke it ain’t ours” and while we mused about it being about our kids… it was also about me. 🙄

So Fair enough, I never really liked diamonds anyways, however recently I have seen some beautiful sapphire “engagement” rings and think…well maybe I would like one of them. So we decided that maybe down here might be the very best place to buy a new ring. Even bigger than the Pow WOW in Quartzsite is the international Gem show in Tucson, only a week after this one. So if we do not find one we like here, we will follow along to Tucson for that show. Aren’t sapphires beautiful

So that is all about the rock shows here,…….. the truth of the matter is that most people here are NOT here for the rock shows and could not care less about rocks. 🙀🙀

THIS IS what most people are here for. Because the weather is here…. and not bad for the winter, and there are essentially many square miles of this (natural) desert parking lot, people come from all over to spend the winter here.

I am sure you will find million dollar rigs here as well as people who have converted their cars into a home and are living in them. If you have read Nomadland or seen the movie, (very different stories, but both involving Quartzsite) you will understand the very different dreams and purposes that lure people here. Some years there are as many as a million people here. What you can see in the picture is what is called LTVA. You can camp anywhere here for ~ 180 dollars for the whole winter and 40 dollars for 2 weeks. What you get for that is a place to dump your Sani, fill up with water and expose of your garbage, beyond that you can camp anywhere. People seem to take ownership of their spots and “landscape” with rocks to out line the borders of their spot. Some of the landscaping is quite extensive, after all they have the whole winter. There is one area in the La PosA South LTVA that is called the “magic circle” it is the only “clothing optional” spot that is legal in Arizona. There are people who come to Quartzsite just for this reason. Warm (sort of) weather and clothing optional….

Although the whole thing began with the rock show, because so many people came here, many other things spawned from that. For instance…. there IS a gun show here this weekend (more like a reason to leave for us, but for many ……??).

There is also a massive RV show here starting on the 20th of January. There are likely many people who think that it is all about the RV show. Anything RV, you have ever thought you might need or want will be there, included a few thousand RVs.

The other big interest here is ATV/ 4×4 ing. They are here everywhere, and I guess we would be included with them, but our adventures in the jeep are far more purpose driven.🚗🚙🏎. We are not just driving around, we are driving around looking for rocks 🧐

If you have read nomadland … you can see that there is a whole culture of people who are here for the winter because it is a place that they can afford to live within the financial constraints of whatever “income” they have. They live in vans, cars, tents and RVs. They leave in March and April when it gets too hot to “be” here, but by then it is warm enough to “be” in other places. In fact a guy just showed up at our RV saying that his wife had died a few years ago and he was selling her jewelry to make ends meet.😔

One other thing that I have not heard anyone mention about Quartzsite, but I absolutely love…….. the mountain Range at KOFA just south of here. I can see the mountains in the distance from my Motorhome window.

This picture I took down closer to the mountains. It is very hard to capture the 3 dimensional aspect of these mountains.

They are very striking, perhaps because they stand out alone….. and also, did I mention there are rocks …..

Bye for now, many have asked how the weather is where we are, it has been a bit windy, but we are not getting the scary weather going on on California coast and central California.

much Love Janet, Ken and Tucker who does not really take up much space.🐕‍🦺

Adventures in crocheting…… and….hunting dumorierite

As the name of this blog implies, I tend to go from one obsession to another, sometimes back and forth (IE mushrooms/rocks) This winter I decided to learn/relearn how to crochet. I need something to do with my hands while we watch Britbox, because they are already very good at obtaining more food.😀 Also something to do while we bounce along the bumpy roads finding remote rock sites.

I vaguely recall crocheting in my long ago past, but I believe that my older sister tended to rescue me from my projects, and I finally just left it to her. 🤔🤔 Or was than knitting. Either way, I totally forgot how to. So I started off by watching you tube video. Ended up lining up the lines wrong, after taking it apart many times before I realized it was not going to work.

Then I got some expert advice from a friend while in Fountain of Youth RV resort, but had forgotten it all by the time we were 10 miles down the road. So I went back to YouTube and found a video that better suited my yarn. I basically put this pattern together about 10 times, tearing it apart many times before I finally got to this

So there is clearly a weird ridge along this hat so I did rip it apart and start over again. By ripping it apart and RE crocheting, I did finally get the tension right and so the next hat went MUCH quicker, only tore it apart… maybe 3 times. I guess crocheting is more of a journey VS destination sort of thing, so the more times you rip it apart, the longer your yarn lasts. 🙄

I tried all these things in my youth, but had MUCH less patience back then, I remember a jacket I made in high school that I sewed the sleeves on upside down ….if you can imagine……. A story I often told drunks I was sewing up in the ER years later.

All this exciting crocheting EVENTUALLY gave way to rocks again.

We have been in south eastern California now for the past few weeks. Staying in a “dispersal” site, which means big open desert that is basically like a gravel parking lot that extends for miles

The mountains behind us are called the Cargo Muchacho mountains. On top of a very cool name for the mountains, an unpronounceable name for the rocks we were looking for here. Dumortierite. Upon looking up more about this rock, the article had a whole section on how to pronounce it.🤔. We have been practicing. We also knew that the rocks are blue. So these are the types of maps we rely on. They are NOT drawn to scale and are a geographical exercise in themselves. IE.. what did he MEAN with that little squiggle? So the first day we went out we did not see a thing that looked blue, in fact we did not find ANYTHING of interest. So went back to the books (google) to find out what dumortierite looks like in the rough.

So the next day we tried another place on the map and ….LO and behold we found LOTS. It is so rewarding to finally find what you are looking for. Not sure what we will do with it, but apparently you can cut and polish it, so likely they will find a place in our floor.

So in the same area is a rock quarry/ deserted mine, a massive hole in the ground, called the blue bird mine. We could not help but wonder where the rock that HAD been in the hole, had gone to???

This one is looking up.

This was from the very bottom. We did not find one interesting rock all that way down. Nothing.

What we found at the very bottom of that mine though………”Turned the stone and looked beneath it”. voila a Tarantula.

Worth the trip…. gave him/her some water and climbed back out of the hole in the ground.

I had meant to publish this, but then we ended up at a campground with poor internet, so I just carried on.. We have been staying for the past several days at Oxbow BLM site, and right on the shore of the Colorado river. Everything I have read in recent years is how it is turning into a bit of a creek with the draught. We have camped several times in Parker, and the Colorado river was actually quite marshy. HOWEVER… it seems to have come up considerably with the recent substantial rain/snow that has hit western Canada and the US. All kinds of “stuff” floating down the river, I guess the river cleaning its shores. I read somewhere that the Shasta reservoir was up 12 feet. Perhaps this is a reprieve……

We have been rockhounding the past several days along the Wiley’s well road.

Wiley’s Well is a natural artesian well in Southern California. It is named after storekeeper and postmaster A.P. Wiley who, in 1907, made a shallow well deeper that was dug in 1876 by a stagecoach company which traveled along the Bradshaw Trail Wiley expanded the well in the hope of attracting business to his remote desert store; it was maintained by local ranchers and cattlemen for years afterward. However, the rapidly falling water table meant a drop of the water’s depth to 60 feet (18 m) within a dozen years. Today, the well’s original depth is only about 20 feet (6.1 m) at best after wet weather and is unfit for drinking.”

THIS is the history of the well, which everything in the area is named after… I guess because a well is kind of an important thing in the desert.

This area is about 9 miles from Palo Verde across desert like terrain. There is a historic Fire agate mine here called Opal hill mine. Apparently the mines “former owner was well known and a cantankerous woman known for her prickly manner and salty language. She was ALSO known for driving her bulldozer into Palo Verde for a late night binge at the local saloon.

According to our rock book which is 25 – 30 years old, it says “for those planning to spend several days digging, a few small trailers are available to overnight in”…. at no extra charge 😀🤔. EEK.

Needless to say, we did not go anywhere near the mine… very creepy place. But in the surrounding hills we found lots of gems.

The morning of the big rainfall.

Perhaps the plants in the desert will make it through this year.

I want to make an official plug for peace in 2023, much love from Janet, Ken and Tucker (🤔 I wonder if HE would like a toque?)

No Ticks On Tucker……..

Well at least we hope not. Ken has taken 3 ticks off of Tucker so far, and because Tucker was beginning to avoid Ken, to be fair, I took one out too. Here is a picture of a tick “in vivo” ……. (in TUCKER)

And the tick “in vitro” (on Ken’s finger) ….. soon to be “In TOILET”……. (self explanatory)

We were not aware that they had ticks in the desert and had been blaming all of the ticks on Oregon, but Lo and Behold, there are apparently ticks in the desert, there is one type in the mohave desert, (which we are closest to)….. that lives on the backs of tortoises.🐢🐢 We never actually saw a live tortoise, but Tucker gets into the bushes etc with his sniff sniff sniffing, and so who knows where he got them. The good news is that we “apparently” have not gotten any ticks, not that we haven’t THOUGHT that we had them 🪳. OH and I guess I should explain our technique for getting ticks out. We use a few drops of this very fine EXTRA virgin Olive oil.. (of course likely any olive oil will work, but we only want the very best for our Tucker🐶😀 ). …. cover the tick with the oil and then twirl the tick around …(we found that twirling clockwise works pretty much the same as counter clockwise) and they just fall off.

We have gotten back into rockhounding in the desert like a couple of dirty shirts…. and have found LOTSA rocks. We also have Wiener roasts for lunch(well… wieners cooked in a pot of water over a camp stove)(of course veggie dogs)

Most importantly, we have found the rocks we need to complete the floor in our living room. We just went back to the place we found the ones we already have. THIS is the floor we need to match it up to as there are 2 more openings in the floor along side this one.

This is the most amazing site, ….. every rock here in this picture is Jasper …. rare to have so much in one place. So we just chose the best pieces for the rest of the floor.

These rocks we have found near Ludlow, which also has a large free parking lot for RVs, like us and more significantly, the big trucks. We did have a hunkered down day in Ludlow with a sand storm that eventually because a real live storm with real rain. Unusual. 🤔 Of course as soon as the rain starts, the sand stops flying… It really is hard to show what a sand storm looks like.

This area is truly magnificent, I really wish my pictures did the area justice.

I must say that I never would have seen “the desert” as a vacation destination, despite all of the songs that mention it…. and embellish it. However I totally LOVE the desert. I guess mostly by how far you can see. I love seeing far. I also love that you can see the sunset AND the sunrise from the very same spot. SUNRISE


Actually another sunrise and below a sunset….

It is definitely easier to hike long distances in the desert, and in this area… there are no cacti, so we do not have to pull them out of Tuckers feet….(I guess we have replaced cactus barbs for ticks.

I DO follow the news back home and have been quite taken by a news story that occurred right where we live. We live on a 10 acre lot, and there are 3 other acreages around us ….4 in total. There is a trail that basically goes around our grouping of acreages, called Baldie Trail. It is a wonderful hike that started down below our lots. Apparently a dog went missing on the trail and this is a link to the story of the owners efforts to find the dog … over a 2 week period .

Spoiler alert, the story has a happy ending….. But if we had been home, this dog MIGHT have come down to our place, perhaps he even DID. We do have a yummy compost. 💩💩

It is great to have so many Trader Joes down here, but they are VERY hard to get to. We usually have to park the Motorhome a long ways away.

So we have our airport fold up trolley, and our back packs to haul the “heavy stuff”

Ok one more sunset from Fountain of Youth….

bye for now, much love to all (OH and PEACE TOO) from Janet, Ken andTucker the Tickey dog☮️🐶 For more info on the ticks found in Mojave Desert.

paths we might have been on

I always wonder, when we are in some extremely remote place, whether it is possible to be stepping somewhere that no person has ever stepped before. Case in point……. while in Oregon, on the trails we have always gone mushroom picking, we had to do a LOT of bushwhacking. There has been extensive logging in these areas, and trying to find THE M SPOT that we used to go, entailed a lot of pushing our way through the brush getting totally soaked. In effect, we were not really looking for mushrooms, but looking for the trail we used to find mushrooms on. (well it was not so much a trail, as an area, we called the LOST FOREST, because we have been lost there before) We took 2 totally different approaches to find the lost forest, and in essence never did find it. We DID find mushrooms on our way to find the forest. I guess we could not find the forest for the mushrooms.😀

OH LOOK, what have we here? A pine mushroom. I guess it has been a good year for pine mushrooms with a colder snap and then a warmer snap. The cold snap sends the nutrients in the trees down to the roots and the arrival of nutrients at the roots is what stimulates the pine mushrooms to grow.(AKA Matsutake)

I did not actually take any pictures when we were bushwhacking because there is not much to see when you are lost.

I thought this tree was kind of cool, growing right out of a cut stump. Emerging from the ashes of long ago logging.

We did find lots of Chanterelles too. I pull them apart and wrap them in towels and then place them in a bag, that is how I find they last longest in the fridge. It also verifies that they ARE IN FACT chanterelles. (most mushrooms do not tear, like pulled pork)

On this trip we have decided to try to do more hikes in the areas we are in, not ALWAYS looking for something…. rocks… mushrooms. The landscapes is so different down here in California. Finding campgrounds that are near hikes has been a struggle here… the campgrounds near the cities are just basic parking lots, and extremely expensive. We ARE country folk and feel lost in city areas.

Great hikes near Santa Margarita lake (reservoir) and very, unusually, wet weather. (central California)

Storm coming in…….Looks like a medieval painting.

Getting further south we did the Santa Paula canyon trail up towards the waterfalls. VERY different hike, crossing the creek many times balancing on boulders.

I realized I have never seen an avocado tree up close, and the hike went past an avocado grove. One MIGHT be tempted to grab an avocado. …. but there was a sign to tell you that that was illegal and you could face up to 3 years in prison for taking one 😲…. so we left them on the tree.

I must say that I have never seen an oil rig up close either, so it twas a day for firsts. The first part of this hike was through private land, and we passed 2 oil rigs.

Of course lots of Mexican influences, after all this USED to be part of Mexico before it was annexed.🤔

We have taken a real interest in doing jigsaw puzzles that are compilations of old posters. I watched this VERY GOOD video on how to epoxy a puzzle. THIS guy is hilarious Even if you do not want to do the project, the video is fun. We have several of these puzzles and plan to decorate our spare bedroom with these pictures…… epoxied.

So we spent a few days in Ventura and despite me having just told you about our preferring the country VS the cities, we DID love Ventura. It is like an old fashioned city on the ocean. VERY funky and very environmentally conscious.. This is a favourite place of ours, the Harvest Cafe. A vegan restaurant…. they make their own cashew milk (just like us)

Our main interest in Ventura is this wonderful lady CINDY. She has just come back from the COP27 International Climate change conference. The specific aspect of climate change that she has focused on is the huge way the military contributes to climate change. The military emissions account for 6% of global emissions. I have heard it said that the US military contributes more to climate change than most countries ….SO YET another reason why diplomacy is such a better approach than more weapons. (not to mention the lives lost, homes lost etc etc)

While we were there Cindy did an interview about her COP27 experience on VFP radio hour and she was asked if there was any music she thought might add to the podcast and she sent my song Canary in a Coal mine. So here is a link to the interview which ends with my song.

The show hosts sounded interested in more of my music for future interviews.

We had a wonderful time, as usual, with Cindy. She shares our antiwar views, and it just so comfortable to talk with someone who has been doing this for 40 plus years. GO Cindy go.

We also went shopping in Ojai, and sort of broke the budget. My sister says if you ever find a dress you love you need to buy it because when you are specifically looking for a dress you will never find one you love 👗 So I have this CRAZY idea that I might wear a dress sometimes.

We are having a wonderful trip, trying to change it up a little, not just rocks rocks and more rocks. 😀

However we have been gone for a month and have just arrived in Barstow so today we are going off to find Opal of different colours. We have had a few days on beaches rock hunting up in Oregon

OH and Cindy has had her late husband John’s, leather jacket for years and really wanted Ken to have it. Kevin Costner???????

Stay tuned for amazing Toques… I am learning how to Crochet.

TTTTTHHHHATS all for now folks……. much. love… Janet, Ken and Tucker, who did not even get mentioned once in this blog.


We spent a night in a campground called “Elk Country RV resort, and campground”

We did not see an elk during our stay but it was extremely clear that they lived there…. it IS their country. 💩💩The campground worked very hard to keep the peace with the Elk and so they gave out a sheet called Elk Rules…. What to do and what not to do around elk.🦌🦌🦌🦌 AKA keeping peace with Elk.☮️

There is  a lot known about Elk and how they respond to people, and how they respond when they are provoked.  Apparently if you look them in the eye it is seen as a challenge, and so it is suggested that if they are looking at you, not to look back, just look down and keep walking away.

What I wonder though is 🤔….. if you DO look them in the eye (even though you know it is seen as a challenge) and they DO attack you (as they are known to do), whose fault then is it if you get hurt?  You have challenged them in exactly the way that would cause them to attack, and you know it.

I cannot help but wish that the world leaders would think a bit like the clever people in this campground and how they are encouraging people to be like.. in this campground.

You know the risks, you know what they will do, and you continue to challenge them, and then a whole lot of people get hurt. Its sort of like the people do not matter.

While this is totally true about Elk, it is purely metaphorical about the world, so have fun with it. When I was writing songs, I used metaphors to explain things. I am sure ….often….. they were poorly understood. Metaphors are just stories that one can fill in the characters according to the events of our own lives.

I have included the lyrics to what I feel to be one of the best anti war songs ever written. Universal soldier by Buffy Saint Marie in 1964. It was made famous by Donovan. Sainte-Marie said of the song: “I wrote ‘Universal Soldier’ in the basement of The Purple Onion coffee house in Toronto. It’s about individual responsibility for war and how the old feudal thinking kills us all.”

War has never achieved peace and it never will. I am frustrated with the way the world leaders are recklessly challenging each other, ……….as if there are no consequences. Its like the lives of all of these innocents do not matter. ☮️ ☮

The MOST important line of the Universal soldier is  the very last one “And brothers, can’t you see?

This is not the way we put the end to war”

The Universal Soldier lyrics

He’s five foot-two and he’s six feet-four

He fights with missiles and with spears

He’s all of 31 and he’s only 17

Been a soldier for a thousand year

He’a a Catholic, a Hindu, an Atheist, a Jain

A Buddhist, and a Baptist, and a Jew

And he knows he shouldn’t kill

And he knows he always will

Kill you for me, my friend, and me for you

And he’s fighting for Canada

He’s fighting for France

He’s fighting for the U.S.A

And he’s fighting for the Russians

And he’s fighting for Japan

And he thinks we’ll put an end to war this way

And he’s fighting for Democracy

He’s fighting for the Reds

He says it’s for the peace of all

He’s the one who must decide

Who’s to live and who’s to die

And he never sees the writing on the wall

But without him

How would Hitler have condemned them at Dakau?

Without him Caesar would have stood alone

He’s the one who gives his body as a weapon of the war

And without him all this killing can’t go on

He’s the Universal Soldier and he really is to blame

His orders come from far away no more

They come from here and there and you and me

And brothers, can’t you see?

This is not the way we put the end to war

Sorry not to have had any pictures of elk, but they just were not there while we were.

Also very sorry to hear of the death of a friend yesterday, a friend who definitely knew how to keep the peace with Elk. Rest In Peace Dana. 💔

Thank you for reading my blog, Ken and Tucker and I are currently just south of Gilroy California. Every now and then I get carried away by politics and it comes out all over my computer.🤔

and Tucker said, Head south…so we did

Summers almost gone and winters coming on…. We have laid around and laid around……..

We have had quite a creative fall, still trying to finish our house.

After 3 years of trying to figure out how to put the cut rocks into the floor AND still show the beauty of the rocks, (like when they are wet). The only way to keep them shiny looking seemed to be to polish them, and the only way we have is with a tumbler. These rocks do not fit in the tumbler. I even tried to paint them with polyurethane, but it yellowed them, and so finally I turned to the rock club, and a very clever lady suggested epoxy. ….. and now we are epoxying everything 😛 It has solved the issues with the previous “rocks in the floor” projects.

In a way it is like walking on water…

Epoxy is quite expensive, but we bought one “kit” for 150 dollars and we have done all three of our projects with it. It does seem to take some practice working with it.

It is nice to be getting the holes we left in the floor filled with our little treasures, we have 4 done and have 4 left to do, but now that I know better how to do it, I wish we had more to do now. The living room design with all the red….. is rocks we found in California, and we do not have enough to finish the other 2 parts, so are on the lookout to get more this trip.

Other things this summer, I finally gave up my badge….. my licence to practice medicine, so am not officially retired. I have a year with which to get it back (If I want) easily… but I think it is time.

We are now taking a leisurely trip south. For some reason we cannot remember why we have never taken this trip leisurely…… Maybe running away from something (weather) or to something else (better weather) 🤔🤔

It always seems to take us a few days to get our “traveling legs”….the routine down. The first few days is often like…. what the heck are we doing?? We checked out the Pike street Market in Seattle beautiful new art work.

.. and THEN we remember that we are NOT city people.🤔

Time to get out of town.

We did have plans to go down to Eugene and take in some events in the city, however it was… too cold, so we headed for the coast, and it is lovely here, sunny and just a little below freezing at night. We cut over at Longview WA, towards the coast on the north side of the Columbia river. We found a very cool campground that was just on the side of the road, but our spot was right on the edge of the river.

AND rather quietly these huge ships would go by creating huge waves, hence the warning signs when you go onto the beach. We would be walking along (OR looking down for rocks) and suddenly there would be a massive ship, no sound at all??

We then crossed the Columbia over to Astoria, OR, on the huge and scary bridge. I took pictures so that Ken could see what it looked like 🥺🥺

It is a very long bridge that goes WAY up at the end to allow those huge ships under it in order for them to get up the river to Portland and other ports up river.

We are now on the Oregon coast wondering why we ever left it……Oh ya, it was because we could not afford 1500 dollars a month for health insurance.🤔 AND the very high deductable.

So all in all, I think we have gotten back into the travel mode…. walking different beaches each day and …. Checking out the pubs too. Pelican brewing company. Studying the rock books for where to go tomorrow.

Well bye for now, and thanks for reading my blog

Janet, Ken and Tucker the beach walker dog.