Garlic… what a great time of year.


Well its beginning to look a bit like garlic….. everywhere you go.  There’s a bit of it out to dry…..


a bit of it hanging highIMG_3383

But most of it still in the fields….(not sure what the rhyme pattern there was)IMG_3379IMG_3378

So last October we planted about 4000 garlic. We have been growing it for about 7 years now, expanding our numbers each year, and here we are.

I thought I would explain the life cycle of a garlic, as it is much more complex than you would think…. or simpler. Garlic clones itself.  Garlic, like potatoes, is multiplied by vegetative reproduction rather than by sexual reproduction (seeds). Individual garlic cloves are planted and they each produce a bulb in which the cloves all have the same genetic makeup as the original clove.

I cannot believe I have not photographed the umbrels before, so I found a picture online. This is the “flower” that the garlic plant sends up. It is called an umbrel and the tiny parts inside are called bulbils. They are essentially teensy garlic cloves.

umbrel early


Usually you do not see the umbrel of the garlic plant because they usually get cut off earlier before the flower develops, which is what we did a few weeks ago to allow the plant to put all of its energy into make a large garlic bulb instead of bulbils.IMG_3352

THIS is called a scape, and the little pointed thing at the end of the scape develops into the umbrel shown above if left on the plant.  So here is my fridge filled with a few hundred scapes ready for the market tomorrow.  Scapes are an under appreciated part of the garlic plant that only those who shop at farmers markets ever find out about……….. OR if you have a friend (like me) who has an overabundance of scapes, because I have grown so many garlic.IMG_3385

I should add that Scapes are a delicacy that are a cross between an asparagus and a bean and a garlic. They last for weeks in the fridge and you can use them in almost any dish.  Another very unique thing about Garlic Scapes is  that they are not something you will find in warmer climates.Only Hardneck Garlic produces a scape! (FINALLY SOMETHING we can grow that they cannot grow in the tropics)   There are 2 main types of garlic. The type you will find in the stores ( that comes from China) is usually soft neck garlic. It tends to do better in warmer climates. It does not need the really cold winter that the HARDNECK garlic needs to divide into cloves.  Hardneck cultivars tend to have a more complex flavour profile than softnecked ones, being richer, spicier, and generally more ‘garlicky’. Hardneck cultivars also tend to have a larger average clove size, which, due to their plumpness, regular shape, and thicker skin, are easier to peel. SO if you have not already done so …. try hardneck garlic.

We do grow Softnecks,  (a small number of them ) they do not send out a scape, but instead send their bulbils out the side of the stem like shown here.IMG_3354

I am just now thinking what it must be like to be an elementary school teacher tasked with teaching the “facts of life”…….So much to tell ….. I shall continue this story, in a future blog……… growing garlic with bulbils…

So the other thing about garlic is that you can eat it fresh. It has great flavour and it is much easier to peel, but the only time of year you can eat if fresh is about now. Most of the process with garlic is to dry and cure it so it will last over the winter, so you can have garlic year round.  So right now you can buy garlic that has not been cured, tastes wonderful, its not something you would be able to keep until Christmas.  … but then why wait until christmas?


So the garlic you will find at the markets now is called “fresh garlic” and the only difference between that and what you would find in the stores is that it is not something you will want to keep for months because it has not been cured.

So our first farmers Market of the year is tomorrow in Celista. Celista farmers Market. We will have raspberriesIMG_3356

SCAPES… fresh garlic, Dragons tongue bean seeds.

Next week we shall have black berries and heirloom tomatoes.  IT STARTS

Much Love to all, this IS our most recent obsession.







Saying good bye to a cabin, and hello to the road……

Today is the day all of the subject to’s are to be removed from the sale of our cabin, thus semi completing the sale of our cabin. If you have followed this blog, I wrote extensively about the way we essentially rebuilt this  IMG_1857

cabin, from the inside out. We lovingly rebuilt the entire main floor of the cabin, then over last winter, we decided that we could not afford to  be retired, have a house and a cabin. One of those things had to go.  It is a bit like back 31 years ago, I was in medical school, and our son Dylan was born, and we realized that we could not have a child, be in med school and watch TV. SO the TV went… and never came back.

So this time, the cabin has gone. We came to the conclusion that we could not have all three, so one had to go.  Somehow when you look at it that way, it is easier to accept.

But then again, we are essentially nomads, traveling around with our lovely old motor home, looking out over another sensational landscape view every night.IMG_3326

I did go back to work last year, partly to pay for the cabin, but partly because I was just not quite ready to give up my medical  licence, and have been enjoying doing work in long term care, which was what I had done when we lived in Oregon before we moved back to Canada. Early this year one of the doctors came up with an offer that was hard to refuse. He said if I took over a part of his work at one of the facilities to ease HIS workload, he would in turn cover for all of my patients when I wanted to go away for the winter, so this way I can contribute to the caring of elderly over 9 months of the year, and still get my winters away.  I do live an hour away from Kamloops (where I work) so it is not really feasible for me to work in the winter anyways because the roads are very unpredictable in the winter.  So a win win situation.  I also cover for all of his holidays over the 9 months I am in Canada.

Have I mentioned Garlic……..


Last fall we planted about 4000 garlic, and it being a 9 month gestation plant, it will be ready to harvest soon.  It has been years of learning about garlic and each year expanding the number of cloves planted, so we are really hoping for a great harvest soon.  Could fund next winters travels possibly?  I LOVE growing garlic however I also love harvesting garlic and my excitement for harvesting tends to lead me to harvest too soon, so fast forward to where we are right now…. we are down in Washington travelling in the motor home, hoping if I stay away another week, the garlic will grow bigger without me pulling them all up. I believe it is my struggle with delayed gratification.

So we are down at Larrabee state park.IMG_3327

Along the beautiful Chuckanut drive ( essentially Washington’s attempt to compete with the INFAMOUS HWY 1, in California, which is only for the very brave, or very uninformed (which was the case with us) a very windy, very narrow hwy, coastal California from Big Sur to San Simeon)  The big difference between Chuckanut drive and HWY 1 in Cal, is that the drop off in California is hundreds of feet down, whereas in Washington it is 30-40 feet down. Both Very scenic, and both best driven in a small sports cars and NOT a 35 ft motor home.

Larrabee State park holds a special place in our hearts for another reason. The last time we stayed here was August 9th, which might seem odd that we can remember the date so well, but it was a date that most Canadians can likely recall what they were doing. It was the date that Wayne Gretzky was traded to the Los Angeles Kings. It was a date that even NONsports fans remember (like me), in that he was felt to be a Canadian treasure. A sad day for Canada that day. Oddly that day at this park also stands out in my mind because I spent the day throwing up, having picked up a bug at a family reunion in Williams lake a few days earlier. SO all in all it was a day one could not forget, not the place… It has taken us almost 30 years to make our way back here. Anyone wonder why?IMG_3325

So very happy to be back on the road, even if our trip is short, and next week we will be up to our eyeballs harvesting Garlic.

Much love to all, we are preparing for a great adventure again this November.




The long ways home…..

On our way home now, in fact I can see Canada from where I am sitting (at the border) We have had a great time in Oregon. Started out with 2 nights at Cape Blanco, one of our favourite spots for looking for beach agates.  We walk down from the Cape Blanco campground and walk the two miles to the Elk River.IMG_2965

We things have changed a LOT. Good news, and Bad news. The Elk River mouth is MUCH closer to cape Blanco than it used to be, an enormous amount of erosion and it appears that much of the bank has disappeared from when we were there last year.

The banks behind Ken in this picture used to extend to where he is in this picture.


The BAD news is that (our guess) the soil from there high ridges came down and covered up all the agates. We only found a few with 3 days of searching.


We had great fun and Tucker is looking so nice after his major swim in that river in northern California (mentioned in the last BLOG)


We ran into a few “fellow” “Canadians” there.  They decided that they would not be heading home QUITE yet.


NOW as well as bean sprouts we are also growing Pea sprouts. GREAT in tomato sauce on pasta


We spent a few days in Bandon, where we used to live. We used to have pizza parties at our house when we lived in Bandon, we have a large living room and invited everyone over after political rallies etc. When we moved away, my great friend Gail, has graciously offered her home for these great get togethers.I had intended to go around and take pictures of all the wonderful friends who came out to listen to a few of our songs, hear our rock stories and just visit and share the love.  I miss all of these people so much after we moved away.  There is something very special about people who will take to the streets for a common cause, and I hold my commonality with these folks very dear in my heart. Women in Black, Usual suspects, Bandonistas, Fine Women are just a few of the names we went through back then.  MAN -OH- Man I DO love these folks.

But we are on a bit of a schedule, looking for a window of opportunity to get this motorhome home. British Columbia has had a HUGE dump of snow, and today (Saturday) appears to be the best time to try to get home without any snow…..besides.. we have just ran out of homegrown Raspberry jam.


It is currently 2 degrees Celsius which is about 29 Fahrenheit. and So I will close from here, for now

Much Love to all



Ken and I tend to struggle over finding the “green rocks”.


There are many of them listed in many of the areas we have been, but we never really have found many. We come “home” each day with many green rocks to look at, but usually, green is the only characteristic that the rocks we find have in common with those listed.

Chrysocolla, turquoise, Varacite, jade, serpentine,  and Malachite.

We believe that this can be for one of two reasons. One: that there have been none of the rocks were were looking for in the areas we were. and TWO, that we are not good enough at identifying them.  Likely the problem is ONE but we like to believe it is TWO.

We have actually found tiny bits of Chrysocolla, and Turquoise on other rocks, but nothing substantial.  WE DID buy a large chunk of Malachite at quartzite(from Morocco) just so that we could have a sample to help us find more, and also to work on over the summer, to make something pretty.


Chrysocolla tends to be soft and crumbly unless it is mixed in with silica as in this rock. 


These next two pictures are of malachite, we never actually found any, but bought a chunk from a Moroccan seller at Quartzite



Well we figure we have finally found a significant green rock, JADE. AND we have also found another gem:The Van Dusen River.


It is just east and south of  Fortuna, and is an old growth redwood forest that is not on the main roads.  Like a river running through an old growth forest that you have all to yourself.


We DID have a bit of a scare.


Tucker decided that he was interested in something on the other side of the river, and just went for it. He went straight into the rapids and they wrapped their arms around him and started pulling him down river.  My heart just sunk. We were both running along large smooth slippery rocks, but Tucker managed to get out of the pull and came up on shore. He then became “Velro Dog” for awhile.  He learned a lot about rapids, rapido   . 🙂

What we learned about Jade is that it has a deep colour, is semi translucent, and does not scratch with a knife. So if you see a rock that seems to have a depth of colour (I believe that the semi translucency gives it this characteristic), and is harder than a knife, then you chip off a piece and hold it up to the sun, if you can see light through it, then you likely have Jade.


Apparently Jade can be any colour from White to black. I guess we figure that we HAD to learn Jade because it is the official stone for British Columbia.  I found out a bit of history about Jade and BC.  According to legend, early Chinese Placer Miners working in BC between 1860, and 1900 recognized the mineral and shipped large quantities back to China, by filling coffins of their deceased compatriots with the jade.  Back in the 1960s when large Jade boulders were a novelty, a 1.5 ton boulder was found near Lillooet, that sold at the New York exhibition for 30,000.  Apparently another 23 tonne Jade boulder was exhibited outside the British Columbia pavilion at the world fair in Osaka Japan in 1970.

Jade tends to often have many shades within the same boulder, dark green, light green. We have found a few pieces of jade, but sadly it seems to come in very large rocks, and we saw many very beautiful large pieces, sadly they were to large to carry.

We are clearly getting closer to Bandon, where we are going to visit with our friends there, perhaps play some music and have a rock show…perhaps we shall call it a rock concert.

Much love to all


The bubble burst.

The bubble had to burst.


Well I guess we were just having WAY too much fun, for it to last. Pulling into Ventura, we noticed a sound coming from one of the back brakes.  Since it was Friday evening, we booked for Monday morning to have it looked at in Santa Barbara. (big mistake) Downtown Santa Barbara, the guy said yes they COULD work on motorhomes. TINY lot. We were there at 8, they did not look at it until a lot of discussion from us, … until 9. Guess  Long story, but there clearly was a problem with the brake pads and callipers. They also do not even have the tool to take off the tires of our rig.  Fortunately we opted to drive up the road to Paso Robles. Unfortunately they cannot really tell what is wrong with out taking the tires, and the brakes apart. By then of course the motorhome is unDRIVABLE.


So they found that the pads, callipers and rotors were all gone, and the rotor would need to come from LA. TWO days. WE were not allowed to stay in the motorhome at this point so had to stay in hotel.  Now one would think that this is not a big deal, but with a dog it IS a big deal.

We cannot leave the dog in the hotel room alone (which we would not do anyways). You cannot have a dog in a rental car unless they are in a crate. So what are we to do for 2 whole days? WALK WALK WALK…… 7 miles….


We found a restaurant for lunch, and another for dinner, with outdoor seating and they let Tucker sit with us.  Now Tucker HAS to learn a little restaurant etiquette. He just could not stop drooling with all the smells around….. and then of course he had to shake every now and again spreading drool all over us. YUCK.


On a more positive note, we remembered yesterday that we had purchased trip interruption insurance for the motorhome, so we contacted BCAA, and have up to $500 in expenses related to trip interruption for repairs.

This picture was back in Victorville, where there was a bird refuge and some cool birds enjoying it.


We had our very first Uber ride from the shop where our rig was being worked on and the hotel. Fortunately they allowed the dog in.  It was pretty cool, I just downloaded the APP and then plugged in where I wanted to go, the app knew where I was, and then we could watch on the APP as the car comes to get us. Lots of fun.

Another positive is that we discovered a very great wine, LODI, Zinfandel, and the grocers outlet bargain centre. 5.99/bottle, delicious.. STUCK IN LODI again. I know it looks  questionable, it was delicious.



I wanted to end this blog on a positive note and here is the snow leopard getting back on the road. The test drive was successful, brake fluid check great. SO we are back to  4 brakes and back on the road… significantly poorer  🙂



So Currently heading northbound.Looking forward to camping tonight again.

Much love







We spent a few days in Ventura visiting a friend whom I have known on Facebook for years, but have never actually met. I knew we had similar activist back grounds, and that the few songs of mine that I had sent her, she loved.

We had both been very active protesting the Iraq war, both in very different ways. So we spent 2 days reminiscing about the activities we had participated in, the stories we both had to tell about it, and the songs. I brought in all 5 of my CDS for her and we went through the many many songs about the times between 2003-2009. Her listening to them for the first time, me listening to the for the first time in years. She truly loved every last one of them and to be honest, so did I.  I guess since moving back to Canada, I have gotten away from the activism, gotten away from the music, and this all did my heart good.  No one has made such a thing about my music in a long time.

CINDY and us


I guess looking back, that is what gave me the inspiration to write, …… someone who loved the songs, and understood the reason for them.

We  also went to a memorial for the 63 homeless who died in Ventura county in 2017. Usually they do the memorial at the end of the year, but with all the fires, they were unable to until now.  VERY sad event, one was a 3 month old baby.  I learned that being homeless takes 20 years off the average lifespan of a person. So between an event on homelessness and the interest Cindy has in my songs, perhaps I got my MOJO back and might write a few more.



Ventura was the site of very severe wild fires at the end of December, very close to where Cindy lives….. and then the mudslides came. The areas of the fires were heavily sandbagged to prevent significant erosion in the after math of the fires.IMG_2875



All that remains of this home is the glass block wall.



Then further down the beach we thought that these were ships… but on closer notice…. eek    Oil rigs….


This was an unusual sight. Everywhere in Carpinteria, there are big piles of dirt (from all the mudslides), and then we saw them driving all the dirt into the ocean with a DC cat. What we were told, was that the Santa  Monica river was so full of silt from the mudslide that its level  was coming up significantly, I gather raising the risks of future floods, so they were dredging the river beds to make them deeper, and dumping it in the ocean.  At least one lady on the beach was unhappy about this.


Well it is all fun and games until the brakes break again….. so we are now sitting in Paso Robles waiting for our chariot to be fixed… GROAN


Much love and peace




A Shock….ing story

Back when we were in Kingman, Ken came around the back of the rig, while filling up with gas, and there was a guy under our motorhome. EEEK.. Well it turns out that he had been following us and noticed how dreadful our shocks were. He just HAPPENED to have a mobile “replacing shocks” service.
Now although we were very leery, we also had been wanting to change the shocks and it is always extremely complicated to get anything done on our rig (as you will see in this story)…. so we went with it. I got the cash and insisted Ken stay with them the whole time. (after the disastrous brake situation where the guy put one of the callipers on wrong).
So we pulled into the parking lot of a mall, and they got the correct size measurements and one of them went off to purchase them. He came back and within an hour we had brand new shocks on the back of the rig, and it all went well.  Kind of funny, as we were driving away, we could see them following another older motorhome…

This blog does not have any associated pictures so I thought I would intersperse a few from the gem show. This is tigers eye from Australia.

SOOOOOO then we decided we wanted to get the shocks replaced for the front. Ken figured he would do it himself.
We were in Parker AZ. Ken found an online ad for a store in Parker, and gave the guy the measurements, and he said that they would be in the next day by 4 and the shop closed at 5.
We went up to Lake Havasu for the day to visit friends and rushed back to Parker in time to get the shocks. We could not find the store, and so Ken phoned again and turns out that the store WAS in Lake Havasu city, where we had been all day. SHEEsh. So then he figured what the heck, and decided to drive up the next day to pick up the shocks anyways (about 35 miles..) He got there and they had ordered the wrong size.
So we hung around another day, deciding to really solve this problem and once more they got the wrong size in. So we decided to give up on this place… and  move on down to Quartzite. He went into a shop there and ordered the part and was quite specific….. but once again the wrong park came in.

This is a massive ?? Jasper piece from Australia, the rocks that come from these far away places, they ship them over.

Finally finally … he resorted to the OLD FARTS forum, and one of the guys “BILL” coming to the Safari rally ordered the shocks, picked them up in Havasu and brought them to the rally. They were the correct ones. Ken had a hard time getting one of the old ones off and so “BILL” had the compressor tool to take it off, Ken got them off, put on the new ones and now we have 4 new shocks. So the morale of this long story, is that sometimes…. things that seem pretty weird, work out.

This some of the jewelry  that our friends from Hawthorn AZ their shop is called ROCK CHUCK, have made. They do the mining, cut the cabochons AND make the jewelry.  These pieces are a mixture of the various gems they mine. Turquoise, and varicite are the two I recognize.IMG_2763

HUGE ammonites from morocco



We have officially said goodbye to Quartzite and are heading up to Havasu to drop off the rental car.  It will be great, because it is not much fun driving in 2 vehicles, Tucker gets lonely, he IS a 2 person dog, AND it has not been very useful. We WILL work out something different next year.

BYE for now




Of all things, we are currently at a Safari International rally. We are just north of Quartzite and there are many many OTHER rallies going on around us.  I guess it is just an easy place for people to meet up….. and spend time.


This is basically what the land around Quartzite looks like for miles and miles in every direction.  All of these large swaths of basic parking lots are divided by “washes”, where the rivers flow when there is water.  So essentially this month every area within miles and miles of Quartzite fills up with rigs like this.  (At least the swaths of land that rigs can get to, the picture above, we had to walk through a large wash to get to)    I have read that as many as a million people are here visiting at any time in January.


Our motorhome is a 1995 Safari. Safari used to be a big name in motorhomes, but  then got bought out by someone else, and then someone else.  There is an online group that Ken has been on for a few years now where he gets all the details on how to fix our RV, and this site has been our lifeline for keeping this rig running. (I guess you could call it our 911, But we call it the old farts forum)   So we thought we would attend the rally since we are in the vicinity anyways.  This is the first time we have ever attended anything like this, but it is going well … so far so good. (Of course I have not brought up politics though  🙂  )

Oddly enough, no one else here has even heard much about the rock show, they really just come for the rally.

Tucker has made a few friends.

The thing about Safari’s that makes them unique is the painting on the back of them, they are all African animals. Everyone unique.


So I went around all the rigs this morning to get pictures (of the pictures). I learned something along the way, and that is that each picture has hidden figures with in it. This one has a mouse, the rocks in front are actually fish.




not quite sure how this one fits………


The older ones are more simplistic.


This one just pulled in, seems like a much newer rig.  Odd looking panther….


AND THEN there is ours. (our rig is the second oldest one of those that are here now)IMG_2777


We woke to the sound of generators this morning. Loud and clear. GROAN.

We were moving our solar panels around this morning to get the batteries charged and one lady said, “I just don’t understand why you do not just use your generator” 🙂

Everyone seems very nice, and many of them seem to know each other already.  But we joined the big circle last night and good old Tucker won everyone over, he makes making friends easy.  Ken is having fun seeing what all other people have done in the way of renovations.

We will be here a few days to learn as much as we can from other RVers experiences.. then back to quiet mornings.

So now you will know, when you see painting on the back of the motorhome, that it is a Safari.

I have to edit this, Tonite I found out from one of the people here that every painting on every Safari is different.  The guy actually painted on each of them to make each one unique..  There IS a signature on each of them. So there I learned a lot doing this blog.

Much Love to all


KOFA… and the YUMA proving grounds

We have spent a few days at different parts of KOFA national wildlife reserve.  It was established in 1939 to protect the desert bighorn sheep, following a campaign by the Arizona boy scouts. Major Burnham who was  a frontiersman, and become and conservationist observed that the populations of bighorn sheep were sharply declining and encouraged the boy scouts to take up the campaign.  For 2 years, 10,000 boy scouts  campaigned through a “save the bighorn” poster contest.  The name KOFA, was derived from an acronym of one of the areas most notable mines the King OF Arizona gold mine.  Oddly though, hunting IS allowed for the big horn sheep, but limited.


The mountain range although not particularly high, is extremely rugged, so provides excellent habitat for plant and animals adapted to the harsh desert climate.


The larger mammals like the bighorn sheep and mule deer find refuge from the heat in the caves. We did not actually see any wildlife, as we stayed outside the refuge with the road looking a little much for our rig.  The closest we came was Tucker found a shell of a tortoise.  Looks like a piece of paper in front of him…


These area are all close to each other, Brenda, Quartzite Blythe. While hiking around Brenda, we were hearing VERY loud sounds…. ….. Guessing we thought they sounded like thunder, or the sound a jet makes when it overcomes the speed of sound (sonic boom).  We just did not get what these sounds were. We thought we might come over the next ridge to see that a huge bomb had been dropped.

We put it all together yesterday, hearing these sounds again, realizing that they actually DO test bombs at Yuma proving grounds, which is adjacent to the KOFA wildlife reserve.

Interesting bedfellows?  The first area we camped alongside the KOFA mountain range, we had to travel 5 miles along a road going through the proving grounds.


I did not get a picture of the sign as you start into this. It basically said that you were not allowed to stop for any reason over the next 5 miles, as it was military property.  Driving south from Quartzite to Yuma, there was a figure in the air that you could see for at least 40 miles in each direction.  When we stopped to camp for the night we looked up and OMG, of all the places we could have chosen to camp for the night, we were directly below it. Tucker looked up and barked at it. Ken looked with binoculars and it is attached by cables and the whole lower part of it is cameras…… hmmmm


Yuma Proving Ground (YPG) is a United States Army facility and one of the largest military installations in the world. Situated in southwestern La Pas county and western  in southwestern Yuma county approximately the proving ground REALLY IS used  for testing military equipment.  And here I thought we would be safe by avoiding malls and theatres.

In a typical year, over 500,000 artillery, mortar, and missile rounds are fired, 36,000 parachute drops take place, 200,000 miles (320,000 km) are driven on military vehicles, and over 4000 air sorties are flown from the proving ground’s Laguna military airfield. Though about 90 percent of the proving ground’s workload is devoted to the test and evaluation of weapon systems and munitions, training activities are important. Dozens of units visit the proving ground each year for realistic desert training, especially before deploying overseas.

With regards to the blimp, I found this information. We had thought it was to do with Yuma Proving ground, but turns out it is more about border surveillance.

“For the past two decades, a large aerostat balloon maintained by the U.S. Air Force has rivaled Castle Dome as a fixed point of reference over the southern portion of YPG’s range.
Providing an important link in the “radar fence” along the international border that detects drug-smuggling airplanes, the same principle has been applied to supporting American forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.

For nearly a year, motorists traveling the isolated stretch of Highway 95 that passes through the northern-most section of Yuma Proving Ground have been treated to the site of several more white blimps floating high above the desert floor. They look quaint and placid as they hover, but these dirigibles are being rigorously prepared for action overseas.

Persistent Ground Surveillance Systems (PGSS) marry the most cutting-edge, high-tech detection sensors to an inexpensive platform: an ordinary blimp. The moored lighter-than-air craft float as high as 3,000 feet above the ground, lofting a sensor suite that allows ground controllers to continuously monitor a huge swath of land.”

Which would explain the ever apparent border patrol vehicles.


Ken and I were looking for a certain rock site 2.5 miles south of ” STONE CABIN”, and the directions in the book were a little vague, so I drove the car back up to get my bearings from STONE CABIN and had to go through a border patrol  inspection site, complete with dogs etc.  This site is permanent between Yuma and Quartzite.  I was wondering what they thought about us going back and forth through the site …… looking for a rock site.

Although I do not believe my photos do it justice, these mountains are the most spectacular that we have seen on this trip.




AND then the kitchen sink drain started to leak…..


…. and one more BRAND NEW part to our motor home, gradually we are getting a new motorhome.








Fire Agates

Ken and I have become quite interested in Fire agates after finding them at Saddle mountain and near Oatman, Arizona. One might say we have become obsessed……

I should note here that we did not find our treasures in precisely the place the book outlined that we would. Perhaps we were….. thinking outside the box.   Turning left instead of right, on one side of the road instead of the other….

It has been hard to envision how the rough form of Fire agate becomes the gems seen in many booths at quartzsite.

rough one of mine…  thin layers will need to be removed.


rough of mine


gems at quartzsite


Just google ” fire agates” to see much better photos of them.  I HAVE tried stealing pictures off the internet, but am not computer savvy enough to figure out how to do it.

What we have discovered is that there is a little more work involved in getting the rough stone down to the fire agate gem.

The following is an excerpt from an article by Edgar B. Heylmun, PhD 2002 (of course I HAVE corrected his spelling of the word colour)  🙂

Agate nodules are created when silica, in solution, enters and slowly fills a gas cavity in volcanic rocks. Agate and volcanic rocks have more porosity and permeability than what meets the eye, and layer upon layer of silica is deposited in the cavity until it is filled. Agate may also be deposited in seams and fractures in volcanic rocks. The mineralized solutions were probably formed during the cooling of the volcanic rocks, though considerable silica could be deposited over the years by cold circulating ground water. The porosity of agate is demonstrated by the ease in which agate can be artifically coloured.

Fire agate is a challenge to cut and polish in such a way as to preserve the fire, so it is popular with lapidary artists. The fire is caused by a thin layer of iridescent iron oxide that was deposited in a botryoidal (bubbly) manner. The bubbly nature of the layer was probably caused by small gas bubbles that were later filled with silica and water. It is imperative that the layer of silica covering the iron oxide be clear. Otherwise, the fire would not be discovered. When grinding, a lot of delicate work is required, aided by microscopic examination. There may be several thin layers of iron oxide, each with fire of a different colour, so it is quite a challenge to cut and polish such material en cabochon. The principal flashes of fire are golden yellow to green, but some valuable specimens exhibit a brilliant red. Sometimes, fire is evident in specimens before any cutting is done. The iron oxide is hydrous, so water in the thin layer adds to the fire, as does water in inter-layered silica which may, in fact, be fire opal. One of the lapidary rules is to wet grind fire agate, not saw it.”


There is a “fire” that exists deep in the stone that you must grind/Dremel….. your way into without destroying the stone within. You must use diamond blades and Dremel tools …. but bearing in mind that diamonds are harder than agates, so if you go too far you destroy the “fire agate”.

This is one that I have found that has very little chalcedony covering the fire. I guess it was with this one that we began to understand the process.


I am thinking the process will be great fun, sort of like cleaning the garlic, you peel away the outside layers of the garlic to reveal the colours within.  I LOVE that part of being a garlic grower.


… and flowers on the cactus…


Tucker pretending to be a coyote.


and Mr RV repairman KEN…. Kitchen sink was leaking yesterday, now we need to get a new drain. Piece by piece we are buying ourself a brand new RV…….. 🙂



I have struggled writing this Blog, because I did it 2 days ago, and went to post it and it disappeared   Hard to write the same thing twice.

MUCH love to all