I have never known March to last so long….

In so many different ways……

It is hard to look back a month and see any chance that in one month we (the world) would be all staying home.  I also never thought a month ago that the first of April would come along and I would still need knee high boots to get to my compost.  THIS IS MY garlic field. Everyone else’s garlic is already up.

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We are pretty thrilled to be up on the property, FINALLY HOME  SUITE HOME….. 5 months since we left the place.  Can you believe all that snow?  My Dad who lives 200 miles north of here said the other day “you guys should move up here, we do not have any snow”. We finally got enough snow moved that we could get all the way up here with the motorhome.

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Someone else is pretty happy too….  This is how Tucker LOVES to sit, with his butt on a stair above, and great way to watch the world go by.

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Such an exhausting job…..

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So I am working from home, and this is my office.  The plan is that all doctors will deal with calls about their own patients in the nursing homes… and then if someone absolutely needs to be seen by a doctor, we have designated different doctors to each facility.   I am currently covering for another doctor who manages the “pathways to home” program.  To my American friends, it is pretty much the same as Skilled Nursing facilities.  SO I am the designated doctor for Ponderosa.  So I guess I am not really on the front line.  I have been going in once a week.  Overlander is the facility I am director at, but someone else will be designated there while I am at Ponderosa.

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My heart really goes out to the nurses in the care facilities, who have to dress, change, toilet, feed, and put these patients to bed.  I had a patient this past week whom I was quite worried about with regards to Covid, and although I had my good old N95 mask from Canadian tire, they had nothing to protect them. We are getting word that supplies will be coming to Long term care facilities this next week, but it is sad how long it has taken. Fortunately that person did not have covid.

I am not as thrilled with the ministry of health and the Chief medical officer, as everyone else is…..to me, the nurses are the real heroes, caring for all of these people in nursing homes (Long Term Care facilities) at a very scary time.  I wish they would have put a greater priority on protecting the nursing homes (and thus the staff), earlier.

SORRY for the rant, but if you know someone working in long term care, please give them a thank you.

There is talk that the supply chain might be interrupted and food that we are “used to” being able  to get  from Mexico, will not be coming for a whole variety of reasons.  So  I think it behooves (is that really a word??, spell check accepted it) us all to grow something, grow anything, grow lots…. because who knows what will be going on come summer. So Janet, what do we have here????

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WELL….. WE have artichokes, and a variety of peppers… but today… I have started Tomatoes. LOTS of tomatoes…

But still no garlic …. well except… in the big black plastic compost bin. But these might be onions….. from last year…img_6384

But no sign of garlic here

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Watching for snow to melt, I guess is like watching paint dry… only it takes MUCH longer.

Also watching charts, Covid charts… New case rates, Death rates, rates per million population…. watching them go up, and up. I keep thinking that Canada is dropping a bit… but then today new cases when up a lot.

Well here we are and just sitting at home, doing nothing, seems to be the very best thing to do despite everything we have been conditioned for our whole lives.  Get out, be active etc etc etc.  Suddenly I have to tell myself not to feel guilty for doing nothing. There is still 2 feet of snow, but since it has gotten warmer, we can no longer walk on top of the snow without snowshoes.

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I listened to a show on NPR this afternoon and cannot overstate how very lucky I feel.  They were talking about the situation in India, right now. The most populated country on earth, but a country with nowheres near the wealth that a country like China has.  It is totally frightening to think of all of those who will die of this.

I think that people need to take a time like this and have discussions with loved ones about whether they would want to have CPR, and more importantly whether they would want to be intubated and put on a ventilator.  Very few people have had these discussions with older loved ones, but it is more important than ever right now.

The thing about this virus, is that when normally we can provide help with breathing with Bipap ,(which is not invasive)  … if a patient comes in with the symptoms of Covid and their breathing is getting difficult, and they are not oxygenating…. the doctors have no choice but to intubate and put someone on a ventilator, unless you have made it clear to your family that that is not what you would have wanted. Bipap is not being used, during pandemic because it aerosolized the virus, spreading it to others.  So the only option now is to put a person with breathing difficulties into ICU on a ventilator.  These are very important discussions to have now, before you are faced with a harder decision. So for right now, if a person comes in the COVID and their breathing becomes difficult and they have never told anyone what their wishes would be, and their substitute  decision maker does not know their wishes, they will be put onto a ventilator for who knows how long. (This is despite age, other diseases, or prognosis of other diseases)

We are really enjoying it out here but missing baby Talon……  As you can see, just 30 miles away.. NO SNOW.

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We are expecting a cold spell for the next several days, so ken is putting the “tin foil” around the windows……which I hate, but keeps the warmth in on cold nights. This is where Tucker sleeps ….. when he sleeps indoors…img_6189

and back to those lovely sunrises..

 

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Much Love to all from Janet, Ken and Tucker, the ever vigilant hound(except when he is not)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Who knew how far this would go?

 

A little bit of tobogganing fun….. our gravel pit.

 

I am sure we are all sitting, isolated, looking at what is going on in the world in utter terror.  Never before in our lifetimes… has something like this happened.  Perhaps if we were sitting in Iraq, we could say, we HAVE seen the likes of this…… OR maybe if we were in Afghanistan…. , we COULD say we have seen this…. but to our safe first world, we have never seen anything like this.

Sigh….. We are still working hard to get our motorhome up here, but somehow it all seems so irrelevant now.

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We are fortunate to have a place to go to still be isolated.   I think of those “self isolating”in New York and I feel so fortunate to be somewhere that is totally isolated and kind of nice to look at too.

Because of shortage for the N95 masks, they are saving them for “acute care”, which means hospitals, and “long term care” facilities  are not getting them, at least yet.

So Ken and I went up to the property today and got into the storage Sea Cans and dug out our N95 masks, which we bought the year of the fires in BC 2017IMG_6364

quite a valued item now.   I had to go into facility and wore this and it felt quite comfortable.

We are starting a policy whereby the doctors of patients in the nursing homes will deal with issues that come up with the patients, over the phone as best they can. If a patient needs to be seen by a doctor, we will only have one doctor going in and out of the facility. So for Overlander, that will be me, and after Friday it will be me for both Overlander and Ponderosa. (another doctor is off for a few weeks).

So happy to have a mask.  I have heard that 5 nursing care facilities in the Vancouver area have positive Covid Virus cases.

I am not sure if this is a time for setting goals like this, but I want to make sure that we do not get one case of covid in our facility and if we do, that we act on it ASAP and prevent further spread.  My approach is to make sure that we think of everything we can possibly do to prevent the virus, so that some time from now, at the very least, no matter what happens, we will have no regrets…. That we did everything we could have done, with what was available.

So we are on lock down, only families of dying patients are allowed in to visit.  We have a volunteer at the door stopping everyone.  Nurses are having to change clothing when they arrive and when they leave. In Longterm care, nurses really are the front line workers, as doctors, we can manage things from a distance.  So of course I am mostly worried about our son Josh, who is a care aid at a different facility, a much smaller facility. HE is the front line.

We are working hard to make sure our facility is prepared for what is to come, that we can safely isolate any patients who DO end up with the virus , and ensure that we keep the staff safe.  We are planning for rooms where we can look after the coronavirus positive patients, our activity rooms.  For the most part, most patients in Long term care will not be transferred to a hospital if they become ill with the coronavirus, they will likely stay at the facility, and be cared for ther

I think that the reality hit home yesterday reading about the care homes in Spain where the staff had deserted patients, some dead, some severely demented, to tend on their own.  I can see that.  I am sure that the staff were scared, as they are here. None of us signed up for a job deemed to be dangerous.  It is hard to know how to confront that.  I feel that perhaps the best way to confront fear is to make sure that everyone is confident that we are doing everything we can.  The BC government issued a statement today stating that all nurses, doctors, care aides, anyone dealing directly with patients needs to be wearing a mask and PPE  (personal protective equipment), and gloves.  I am hoping by tomorrow we will have all of that in sufficient amounts.  VERY sadly in our area, there was a robbery of a large amount of this stuff, from a storage area…of the health authority.

The real bright light in our days is our wonderful baby Talon, who actually is MORE than one year old now and so apparently we can no longer call him a baby.  Somehow Toddler Talon just does not have the same ring.  He is just SOOO clever, here squatting down to examine a pine cone, having been “tricked” into wearing shoes for the first time.

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I hope that everyone out there has a bright light in this otherwise dark and dreary time, even if it is only a small bright light.

Tucker is in the dog house tonite for chasing the turkeys that jumped into the yard.

 

Much love to all from Janet, Ken and Tucker the turkey chasing hound dog.

 

 

 

 

Covid 19 and waiting for snow to melt

So the progress on our house…… has beeeeeeen SLOOOOOOOW.  We have been back for a month and a half, with our motorhome parked at Dylan and Sarah’s place. A few weeks of house sitting over in Armstrong, in a luxuriously large house (wouldn’t anything seem large after 8 months living in a motorhome)    There have been many slowdowns with regards to the house, but the easiest one for me to explain is the snow with a capital S.

Permits and covenants etc etc are Ken’s job.

So walking on top of 3 feet of snow, after getting home…. circa Feb 5th…

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Then a guy used this machine to clear the road going up to where our property starts.

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Then it snowed more….

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AND MORE………….

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This was a scene in Armstrong while we were there…..  What a wonderful town Armstrong is, farming…..

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So then we got our tractor (which has been in storage all winter) delivered… and we started to make some progress…

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and a little more progress….

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From above…. you can see we have cleared up to the second Sea Can

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and then a little bit of tobogganing down the hill on a garbage can lid.  This place is going to be an incredible place for tobogganing and XCountry skiing.

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Then we made some MORE progress….

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AND then Janet got a little too “enthusiastic” with the tractor and BROKE IT.. Image result for sad emoji

So now the left front tire of the tractor is going left and the right front tire is going right…. But Ken is ON TO IT and we are moving on.

So while Ken worked on the tractor, THIS little dude was checking out the hill.

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OH…. and his mom.

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So we are now trying to lay low, in our motorhome, waiting for the weather to warm up and a large machine to finish the clearing to get our motorhome back up to the property.

I am back to work at the nursing home, and we are preparing for COVID 19.  I am the medical director of a large nursing home in Kamloops and I also have many patients there.   Ten days ago… I was “advising” that we need to screen all visitors for recent travel, and to stop allowing patients out of the facility out into the public.  The facility, sadly enough, had to wait for “official word” from the health authority, which came 2:30 on a Friday afternoon of the weekend before spring break.  Thankfully now we have locked down the facility and closed all ways in, except one door and there is someone there to stop anyone who does not need to be there.

Long Term Care patients are the ones most likely to die of this virus, as they are frail, and immunocompromised.  They also present differently than others with many given health issues.  They tend to have a cough when they are having a heart attack, or get chest pain when they have pneumonia.  I have been trying to find data on the Washington nursing home patients to find out what were their first symptoms.  I have found SOME data, that they tend to become more confused, and increased need for oxygen, but no cough or fever.  These patients tend to be more confused when anything happens so their confusion, tends to be confusing.

I dearly hope that this virus goes away soon, and that our facility does not have one case.  But my biggest fear is that we get a case of COVID 19 and because these people present differently, we miss the diagnosis……. and a patient might end up infecting other patients, and/or staff.   Nursing homes do not have all the protective gear that is being used in hospitals now, and I feel concerned for the staff.

Dementia patients do not cover their cough, nor do they maintain the “social distancing” that is being asked of the rest of us.

I truly admire the nurses at the facility, and their commitment to do their job in times like these.  I only hope that we can be vigilant enough to diagnose a case ASAP before anyone  is put at risk.

These are trying times indeed, and times, I think, we need to stop and think about how we can individually decrease risks of transmission of this virus.

Much  love, janet Ken and The Tucker dog (checking things out)

 

 

 

 

 

 

back home again….. well ..sort of.

We have been home for 3 weeks now. ……. and it is not yet spring.  It would not be so bad except we are now looking forward to getting our house started.

Two weeks ago we hiked up to our property to see the snow situation, and there was a good 3 feet of snow everywhere.. It does not look bad here because there is a good solid layer of ice on top of the snow, making it easy to hike up to our place, on top of the snow.img_6150

Sadly there has been another 8 inches of snow on top of the ice, so now we have to make a trail to get up to our place.  At least no one has been up to our place. Unknown No sneaking around up here now.

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This is down towards the bottom of the hill, and the gate needs to be dug out so we can open the it.  I helped a little bit, but have a really sore elbow from a fall on the ice on my first day back at work……. wearing the WRONG footwear.

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you WILL notice the for sale sign on the gate, there IS another property for sale, and if you are interested LET Me know so  you can be here next year  (with us) to HELP us dig this out Unknown.

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So the moral of THIS story (blog) is that there is a ton of snow standing in the way of us starting to build our house.

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Not to dispair….. George,  the guy who owns all of this, except the lot we bought, is in Mexico, and is madly trying to think of a solution. You see this is a strata and the costs of clearing the road is shared by all owners of properties.   Since he sold the  gravel pit part of the property to us, he no longer needs his equipment, and so has sold some of it. (and retired)

So we put out a message on facebook for “recommendations” for snow removal, and George, in Mexico, got the message.  Turns out that he  did not sell all of his equipment.

Turns out that there is a bull dozer, that just happens to be at the opening to where our drive way comes off the main road.  The VERY cool thing is that it is at the TOP of the hill, rather than the bottom, so I AM SURE that the gravity between the two (top and bottom)……will be helpful

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I must say here that NOTHING is a given here…. Gravity is only so helpful with an opposing force……. (snow).

Also, this machine has been sitting here since we bought the property, and so there are questions about whether it actually runs. thinking emoji

However when there is a ton of snow between living in a motorhome forever and living in a house, we have to cling to some form of hope.

So the idea is, if we can get the gate opened… then George has a friend who will take up a snow mobile (hopefully with an extra battery and extra fuel)… and with an open gate he will be able to go up, start up the bull dozer, and drive it down the hill moving the snow over the bank.

THEN we will have the tractor company (where our tractor is stored)  remember the tractor??….img_1284

 

and so we are hoping that we will put some chains on the tractor and clear some of the snow ourselves once we get the tractor back home.   Picture below is where the previous picture was taken avec non snow…

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This is an interesting mark in the snow…. clearly a large bird has swooped down to grab an small critter here….

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In the meantime we have our motorhome parked in Dylan and Sarah’s driveway and we are “catching up” with Baby Talon. Oh and Dylan and Sarah… also.

 

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It has been cold at night, and even during the  days, and so Ken has “insulated the windows”  Inside the motorhome, so it has become more like a cave… no light…no view.img_6189

thinking emoji  So looking forward to spring.

Much Love from Janet, Ken and Tucker the snow dog… for now.

 

 

 

The long ways home………

We have had a wonderful week in Bandon, hunting mushrooms and rocks and catching up with friends.  Of course I never thought to take pictures of friends, I was so busy, catching up. We went in to the Bandon Brewing company every day for lunch, we had never been there……. AND I am sure we had more meals at restaurants while we were in Bandon, than we have for the whole past year. We decided to skulk around and learn how to get pizzas flying up in the air like these guys were doing…. so I took some pictures.img_6126

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I was not sure if you are allowed to take pictures in bars, so I pretended to be taking picture of Ken here.

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Aren’t I sneaky…..

The beer was great, the pizza was greater and we are going to fashion the walls in our new house after the walls in this restaurant, with old wood. Great atmosphere, we realized perhaps we are missing something by not eating in restaurants all that time.

I mentioned in the previous blog how the trails out a winchester had changed with all of the clear cuts, but…… some trails we did not recognize because the trees had grown up so much. We started running, cycling these trails 20 years ago and some of the trails had parts of previous clear cuts in them. Now those areas are now very large trees.img_6134

This is WOMBAT COMBAT an old favourite of ours, but sadly the shooting was quite near by and incessant.  I saw a cartoon on facebook recently, a guy in a store with 2 open carry AR 15s…. and the tiller said, have you tried Viagra? Unknown

This is the map at winchester road trails.

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Here are some of the mushrooms we found, we told our friend that we were making wild mushroom stew with hedgehogs and she was thinking…. that does not sound like a vegetarian stew… but you can see why they call these mushrooms hedgehogs.  There are all these pokie things on the undersides.

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On our last night in Bandon I made a wild mushroom stew for all the friends who came over for dinner (that I did not take a picture of) however I DID take a picture of the stew.

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There were some wild mushrooms, hedgehogs and chanterelles and some morels we brought from Canada, and some TAME mushrooms from costco. Unknown

 

I had an audience while I was cooking at Gail’s house, this is Walter.

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We spent a very rainy night in Florence, then on to Eugene with a continuation of the rain rain rain.

This is the Willamette cancer centre where I had most of my cancer treatments 11 years ago.  We went there to hang out with a friend while she received her chemo infusion.  She is in a cancer trial, and she is the first one in the study to get the drug. It was nice to spend the time with her, and quite reminiscent for me.  She did very well with the treatment and had her “service dog” with her, so  Ken took him out to pee while she was getting the infusion. It was quite an experience to be there with her. So glad we did it

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The first treatment I had, Ken put together a slide show and connected it with one of my songs. I was unable to go in and get the video to post it here, but you can click on this link to see the slideshow, it is at the bottom of the page.  I had my hair corn braided before I started chemo, so that I could save the braids and make a wig out of it.

My blog with the “she sings her song” slide show

We are motoring home now, we have been closely monitoring the weather. Looks like a nice warm day in Kamloops tomorrow.  We sprung a leak last night after 3 days of rain, it started leaking down on the left side of the bed.  Ken got right onto it and had a patch onto the roof and had the whole area dried out quickly.  Then he put another patch on top of that today. It seems to have solved the problem. THEN we started up to head out this morning and Ken could not get  the motorhome into gear.  It was not clear what the problem was, but it got working and we drove up to Woodburn.  There it failed again, and through checking the codes, it turns out that the problem was that the transmission box was not getting power.  While parked at the mall, Ken was able to jimmie rig the RIG to get power to the transmission box, while talking on the phone with a motorhome mechanic he had met on a forum for safari motorhomes. So we are on the road again, and very glad to be heading home today with these added concerns.

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Of course we are looking forward to seeing this little guy AND our friends and family members.

So ONWARDS …. Janet, Ken and Tucker the dog who is really looking forward to seeing his cousins…..

 

Oregon….. ducks.

Back in Oregon!!! Very first wildlife DUCKS… (Oregon folks will “get it”)

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We made the long trip up through northern California, and stopped at Gold Beach,  actually Turtle Rock which is just a little bit south of Gold Beach.  Small brewery with a restaurant next door that looks out on Hunter Creek. Lots of Ducks here, it was a windy day, and it was fun to watch them take off and land on the “creek” (more like a river on that day) Great little restaurant.

Then up to our favourite beach, at Cape Blanco state park campground.  You come down to this area and then walk to the where the Elk river joins the ocean. It is always interesting to see how much it changes each year, what we have found is that the mouth of the river is moving north each year

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if you can imagine with this map if the river mouth is moving north, the agates MIGHT JUST BE on the other side of the river, now…..

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So we did not find many agates on the north side of the river. lots of people out and everyone walking back and forth as the tide went out further, and more gravel exposed… lots of dogs too.

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SO the next day we HAD to get to the south side of the river, which is a considerable walk. Getting to the north side is a mile and  a half walk on the beach, but the south side is hard to know how far. I did show in the map where we started and where we ended up.  The beach is much more steep and the sand is much harder to walk on … …. SOFT.

However……

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THEN AGAIN…..

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So needless to say it was worth the walk, but we were exhausted getting back, because it turned out to be 5 miles to the river and x2 = 10 miles, in soft sand, and with the wind howling against us for the way back.

One treat along the way, was meeting someone who had a walker hound, which is what Tuckers father was (mother was a lab).  Every one talks about the hound bark etc, and Tucker DOES have a low pitched  bark… however this dog was extremely unusual bark.

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As you can see, he was pretty bouncy, just like Tucker.

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So then on to Bandon and the Winchester road trails that Ken and I spent so much of our time when we lived in Bandon. For the first many years, we cycled/ran the trails and then in the later years we spent hours looking for mushrooms. Love the area.

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Although it is late in the season, we DID find some chanterelles, they are a little wet, but essentially firm centrally, so What a find.

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Of course all good things come to an end, and this is what is left of one of the trails we enjoyed for many years.  It is so hard to get your bearings in a place what you once knew like the back of your hand…….. without the trees there.

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Ken was definitely better at it than me and we did find a small remnant of the area and found several Hedgehog mushrooms.img_6110

We are having lots of fun visiting friends here in Bandon, catching up on all the news……

and back  home…… Here is our son, Dylan and his son Talon

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and we are pretty excited to see our little baby Talon in just a few weeks, he is getting good at lots of new things like……. STANDING.

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Our trip is winding up and we wind our way home.

Much love from Janet, Ken and the Walker hound Tucker

 

The Pacific ocean…

What a difference a few days makes.  We were in California city on Monday….

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EEEEEK what happened?  This is Laytonville, I think……. The day  was all blurry, we left Clear Lake in a snow storm, something we have not actually ever had to deal with in our motorhome.  So at this point we pulled over to let the temp warm up a bit.

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Interesting, we pulled over and had lunch and this truck pulled up in front of us and came to see if we were OK…. What a nice guy, his name was Dylan.

The Redwood forest in a snow storm, lots of trees down. However I think we made a good decision to wait a little while and then head out. Fortunately all of the downed trees were cleared by the time we got there.

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And then Happy dog time, 3 days of driving, he just could not believe his luck.

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Levitating????

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We are finally back to the pacific ocean, and it feels like home.  Something very cool about a winter morning after a big rain. It somehow seems brighter, the waves are always bigger, and the air smells…. well… like the ocean.  We are in Ferndale, the Victorian town just south of Eureka, Ca.  It is where many movies have been filmed, most noteworthy is the Majestic, a John Carrey movie that is about the actual town, a guy shows up in town who closely resembles a soldier from that town. (seems to me the soldier died…??  ) Perhaps need to watch it again. The town is actually about 5 miles from the ocean. This is the lagoon alongside the ocean, I gather the area all floods after these big storms.

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Quite a Victorian little town.

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The shops are mostly artisan shops, with interesting Driftwood “instruments”

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The next part of this blog is about a new years revolution I have joined……… WARNING, may be disturbing for meat eaters……

Over the past many years we have been eating less and less meat. A few years ago we were down in Bandon, and a friend of ours had had a heart attack in the 6 months preceding our visit. He was only 52, and so him and his wife got researching all of this stuff to do whatever they could to make certain this would not be a life shortening event.  They discovered Dr Esselstyn’s program for prevention and reversal of heart disease.

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“In 2007, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn published Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease. Based on his twenty-year groundbreaking nutritional study, the book offered a revolutionary program to stop, treat, and even reverse heart disease. Dr. Esselstyn convincingly argues that the key to abolishing heart disease is eliminating meat, dairy, oil and nuts (with minimal salt and sweeteners). With plant-based, oil-free nutrition even the sickest patients experience a drop in their cholesterol, a boost in their energy, and see their heart disease and related symptoms reverse. In Dr. Esselstyn’s original study, compliant patients continue to thrive — some are now well into their 80s.”

When our friend (who had had the heart attack) described the diet, we really did not think we could live without cheese. We took  NO FURTHER ACTION at that timeimage

However in the past year and a half we have discovered that both of us are lactose intolerant (relatively), and have moved away from milk to the cashew milk that I have described in this blog (about our new machine and that we make our own milk).  We have continued to eat cheese and take lactaid, or just ”live with” the cramping we get from eating cheese.

This New years I have joined a revolution…… to go to a whole food plant based diet. Also no oil, or sugar.  They also suggest no salt….. but there ARE limits.  I am quite taken by the site https://www.forksoverknives.com. I also learn a lot from their facebook page. I buy their magazine in the stores and try out lots of their recipes.

So this diet is essentially vegan (but that has  always seemed  like a negative word) I like “plant based” better.

So all fruits and vegetables are OK, seeds and nuts in moderation, and only bread and pasta that are whole grain.  Esselstyn’s cardiac diet (which goes beyond plant based) does not allow for nuts.

I guess there are many reasons one might pursue this sort of diet.  Our friend chose this diet for his health concerns, and he has told me that subsequent testing they did on him DID show evidence of  a reduction of plaque (which is what tends to lead to heart attacks). If you would like to read a great medical article about this it is here. esselstyn article

My main reasons come largely from my concerns for the animals, and the dreadful lives many of them live, so that I can eat meat.  The full and unadulterated story of dairy, is not really a pretty image either.  Other reasons  ….. the environment. I know that many disagree with this, but I believe if people ate less meat, and dairy, it would help with our climate crisis.  In the news you hear about all of the Wisconsin dairy farms going bankrupt and they blame it on the trade wars, but you only have to look at the milk section in stores to see the OTHER big issue. A large portion of milk in stores nowadays is non dairy milk.

It has been fun to embark on such a big change in life, and learn more about how to survive without cheese. The real biggie here is nutritional yeast. You can make a great cheese tasting sauce for mac and cheese with nut milks and nutritional yeast and dijon mustard. We have continued on with our chips and gravy at least once a week.  I have been making light hummus with a can of chick peas, a can of artichokes, small amount of tahini and the nut pulp from my nut milk making, and lots of garlic.  We normally have cheese in our sandwiches at lunch every day and we are using the Hummus instead.

I am sure that there are some copyright issues here, but this is a great alfredo sauce using cannelinni beans. (from the forks over knives magasine) It was delicious.

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Perhaps on some future blog I will try to start writing some recipes out.

 

So we are just a few weeks short of being home, it is VERY cold there and we hope that the weather up there smartens up a bit before we get there.82060130_494579537861261_6431095638879895552_n

We are especially excited to see this little guy….. he apparently is already helping with the dishes….🤔🤔🤔     Funny thing, I do NOT think he got that from his dad…..image

 

Much love to all, Janet, Ken and a happy happy Hound dog Tucker.

Afton Canyon and other high places

 

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We have been getting out to some incredible places, following the directions in the rock books. We often feel like we are on top of the world.

We have been in Barstow for 10 days now with an issue with the pan that holds the antifreeze in the engine. So for the most part, we have just been leaving the motorhome in one place and making trips our to the various sites in the jeep.ZuHKMhbGRGSP1uty6shFIg

So far this trip we have replaced the oil pan, the pan that holds the antifreeze and the generator….. it has been expensive. I guess on the positive, we have not paid to camp anywhere for at least a month. We work hard to get everything charged during the day time when the sun is shining. We are getting better all the time at optimizing the solar power.  Ken has installed a devise that gives us more accurate knowledge about the batteries.  We have learned that it is best to never get down to half charge.  In the past we have gone through a lot of batteries and have learned that we need to be careful that the charge never gets down below one half.

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Some nights the temperatures are dropped down close to freezing, and the  inverter gauge is showing we are down to one half… so we are using the generator for 15-20 mins some mornings. In previous years we just did not use the generator, because we did not have these concerns about the guage dropping so low….. This year our old generator just would not charge the batteries…..so we had to buy a new one, I guess to save the batteries.  We also put in a block heater  into the engine before we left Canada, so that we could heat the engine on cold mornings, before starting it,  to make the engine last longer.

THIS is Afton Canyon, a truly amazing spot that we have spent a few days exploring. I think that is me…

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It is essentially one large canyon with many other canyons leading into it, and then other canyons leading into them

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So we climbed up through the side canyons and looking back at this..

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I was thinking that it is like a baby Grand Canyon and perhaps a million years from now if the water keeps pouring down through the ridges and cracks… it might become like the Grand Canyon.

I did want to briefly mention Quartszite and some of the things we bought there.  We did not buy this piece…. from Morocco, but pictured it showing the fossils in the underlying stone.img_5889

This is a sink we bought for our master bathroom. It is from Morocco from the Sahara desert.

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Apparently the Sahara desert was once a sea and the environment these creatures settled in preserved their structure.  I guess these mass beds of fossils were discovered when they began mining the Sahara desert.  The people we spoke to there said that with the travel bans it would be unlikely they would be coming next year. Trump is adding travel bans from other countries all the time.img_5885

This is Kathy and Pete, the couple from Kamloops we are intermittantly traveling with… and this is Tucker’s Tail…. he does not like to have his picture taken

 

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This is the very toothful Talon, showing off his newest editions.  WE DO miss him.82954036_2715913665142944_1693944297067380736_n

We are currently just outside California City in the Mojave desert which apparently is a mecca for ATV riders, and there seem to be roads everywhere for them do to their thing. It is quite a well established place, they even have a first aid station ?????

This winter has been colder for us than other years on the road, but trying not to complain  TOO loudly, as we hear it is -20 celsius back home.

Much love to all from Ken, Janet and Tucker the rabbit hunter.

 

Crystals for Christmas..

We have been in Quartzsite for a week now, and today is Christmas. We are having a wonderful time with friends from Kamloops, Kathy and Pete. Of course we have introduced them to rockhounding and taken them to many of our favourite spots, and of course we did not warn them that Rockhounding was addictive, and that there was no cure 😊img_5852

Not everyone is susceptible to the malady, but we are always thrilled when someone else GETS IT! 👍🏻

This week has been all about crystals.  Never had much interest, but on one days long walk in the desert, Ken found two very lovely little crystals, and so now we are on the quest for crystals

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There is a hill 10 miles south of where we are camping called Crystal hill, so we studied on a map where the “washes” flow from that area. (washes are essentially like river beds that have no water in them, ….. like intermittent rivers).  So then we planned Day hikes up the washes with the hopes that some of the crystals might have, over many years, worked their way out of crystal hill and into the wash.    ….. and we DID find some.img_5863

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To learn more about Crystals, we went into the rock show at quartzsite and saw some beautiful specimens.img_5834img_5835and then we saw some really cool rocks called mushroom agates and we were all for that, figuring that these pieces cut would look wonderful in the floor of our house.  So we bought some large ones…. so you will likely find stones that look like this in our kitchen floor.

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Speaking of floors…..  These are ammonite fossils. “Ammonites were prehistoric, coiled cephalopods whose fossils are found worldwide.”  We have purchased several of these pairs, cut and polished and figure we will create a design alternating these with tiles as a back splash in our kitchen.  They are 5×7 cm.

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Yesterday we wandered around the beautiful KOFA wilderness area, and Tucker …… found WALDO….. 😊               AKA Pete…. apprentice rockhound…  HI TUCKER….. GOOD FIND.!

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Well we have now been living in this motorhome for 4 months, AND we are still married… 👍🏻 Each day another adventure that we would never find, unless we went looking for it….. well for the most part.

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SO we have black bean enchiladas in the oven, and are awaiting our dinner guests. We can talk about all of our wonderful rock  finds from today, over wine.

 

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Much Love and Merry Christmas to all, from Janet Ken and the Rockhound finding dog Tucker.

 

 

 

KARMA

We do not have many new rock finds to report, we have had several things impeding our rockhounding, some I have pictures of and some I do not.  (for what will seem obvious reasons)

Several of these….. img_5779

My rock book is several years old and apparently .. THINGS CHANGE…..

THEN a few of these,…… dammed Tucker went after a cow, and then the calvary showed up. THANKS TUCKER!!!!

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We DID come across a rattlesnake in an unexpected place (sorry no photo), it was a rather muddy field and we were trying to walk on the grasses, and Ken stepped on a grass and suddenly a rattler raised up in a grass next to him.  He backed away and did NOT take a picture.  We are NOT into risking our lives to get a good picture.

Later a coyote started howling and then barking, not far from us. (fortunately Tucker is not into chasing coyotes)

We even stayed at Rockhound state park and did not find ONE interesting rock, but quite a beautiful campground, sitting out on a lower ledge of a mountain over looking miles of flats.img_5729

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I DID make the mistake of backing into a cactus plant and ended up picking barbs out of my butt for awhile.  I have to think that this  campground which has been set aside for rockhounds over 20 years ago, perhaps might have been over picked….but the plants were very healthy…. and pretty.img_5719

Of course the ROCKHOUND always likes to be the first one to see everything, while he drools all over us.

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We found a great BLM site southern arizona, almost on the border of Mexico.

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Beautiful hike along a creek, Mill Canyon trail.

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We decided to camp here, looked like lot of people in and out of here. The book DID warn about it being a common drug drop off place……

but there was also the border control blimp in plain view…. we thought we MUST be safe ???

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SOOOOOOooo as it began to get dark it did not feel quite as comfortable as it did in the day time, everyone had gone and we were alone……. alone except for one more car. Turns out that the guy with the other car, had lost one of his dogs, he came back calling for his dog, and Ken went out to help him look for dog.  I thought about taking Tucker, but he would only complicate the issue. So the guy with the help of Ken (and Kens Flashlight) were able to find the dog, she had chased after something and gotten lost.

The guy was extremely appreciative to Ken, and he left. and we sat there, suddenly feeling QUITE uncomfortable. SOOOOO…… we left. It was 7 at night, totally dark but we decided to move on.

So we headed for Sierra Vista, and none of the campgrounds had openings. We thought we would see what was going on at Walmart, and getting onto wrong road, we ended up in a unturnaroundable place in walmart.😬  WHOOPS

But suddenly a lady in the parking lot saw us and moved a barricade and let us through, Ken called her an angel.  We then headed north to find a spot.  My camping APP, directed us to another place that was very hard to find in the dark, but we arrived and there was no instructions on how  to get a camp spot (the way there usually is) We went into the place and there was a bit of a party going on, no one who worked there was present…… but a guy (not a worker there) directed us to a spot and told us when management would be there in the morning (another angel)

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SO the third angel (karma, or however you see it) …. We went up to a site to look for rocks, 3.5 miles off main road. We left motorhome behind and went in a rocky road. Had a great walk, watching VERY carefully for rattesnakes. Did not find a thing, so took the jeep back to where we had left the motorhome.img_5784

We got back and Ken realized he had left his cell phone on the back bumper of the jeep where we had parked to rock hound.

He drove all the way back to find it, even went into a house in the area and told them about the missing phone, then came back to Motorhome. We decided to all go back and look for phone, and we even walked for part of the way searching for phone. Did NOT find it, so drove back to the motorhome and while Ken was hooking up the jeep to motorhome, a guy came by, with his phone. He had found it in middle of road face down. SO we had likely driven over it 3-4 timesimage  The phone’s screen was ruined, but we are able to get the SIM card so we can just put the SIM card into another phone and BOBS your uncle.

SO moral of the story,  DO help people find dogs……. not just so nice things will happen to you, but losing dogs is very sad.

Much love from Janet, Ken and Tucker, the back seat driving hound dog