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 .https://www.100milefreepress.net/news/emaciated-pet-survives-20-c-no-food-in-his-search-for-south-shuswap-home/

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☮️🐶https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34143676/. 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 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HVy7YShSz3Y&t=9s. 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. https://open.spotify.com/episode/26TPP5ATEQVtaFgnOfSqCo?si=El8kdOumRhCHLFBq2FtTxw

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.

3 things I bet you did not know about Slocan…

#I bet you did not know Slocan has an extremely cool camp ground on the edge of a beautiful creek.

Slocan is a very small town at the south end of Slocan Lake, in South eastern British Columbia. We drove here today from Nakusp, BC. We quite accidentally found it, just picked a campground in Slocan and I guess got lucky. There are trails heading off in every direction from the campground to various other places, including a waterfall. Of course we hiked for an hour to find the waterfall only to find it was 50 feet from our camp spot.

With a foot bridge….how cool is that? No Mushrooms though. Oh and the campground is called Springer Creek RV park and campground. (I guess I should have known there would be a creek🤔🤔)

More about the town of Slocan from the Slocan News

“The name “Slocan” is an Indian name that the white man tried put to use. It means to strike or pierce on the head, and this was derived from the Indian practice of harpooning salmon. At one time, this area had an abundance of salmon. It is also said to be derived from Indian Pidgin English, Slo-can-go, owing to the difficult terrain.

The town site was staked at the lower end of the Slocan Lake in 1892 following massive silver strikes nearby; the site was conveniently close to three principal ore-producing areas. By the 1900, there were 12 hotels in Slocan; by 1920 there were only 3 hotels left. Slocan became a city in June 1901 and incorporated as a Village in 1958.

It is said that the first white man to arrive in Slocan were Billy Clements and his partner Tom Mulvey, who came up the river in a boat in the summer of 1892. Nels Nelson came next, prospecting up and down the Valley and visiting often at the camp of Clements and Mulvey. In 1893, Neil Gething and G. Henderson visited this camp on their way to New Denver, there to build a hotel. It was during this year that Springer Creek was named. Billy Springer found and staked the Dayton claim; the first of its kind up this creek, and since it lacked a name, he gave it his in order to give his claim a definite location.”

So Slocan was involved in mining back in the 1800s. ……

#The Second thing I bet you do not know about Slocan is that Ken, (My Ken)…. worked in the Slocan sawmill the year he graduated from Highschool in 1972. This picture shows about what it looked like in 1964, 8 years before Ken was there. It is kind of sad that the saw mill seems to have been built on a lovely beach.

THIS picture was taken today from where those wharfs were at the top of the picture. It seems that it has all been turned into a park.

First time back in 50 years

So we went down behind where the saw mill was and walked to the beach….

I dug down and it was at least a foot deep in sawdust. I could not help but think how great this would all be on someones garden… not enough room for us to take home. Just been sitting here composting for 30 years. At least a few acres of it.😀

#OK the third thing I bet you did not know about Slocan. David Suzuki (who is a very famous Canadian academic, science broadcaster and environmental activist.)was interned in Slocan City, in a Japanese internment camp when he was a child. From the town information post:

Not everyone is aware that in WW2, people of Japanese descent were rounded up and put in internment camps. Japanese people arrived in BC as early as 1877, and they were treated poorly, but when Pearl Harbour was bombed things got a lot worse. Fears of a Japanese invasion were sparked. Flames were fanned by a sensationalist press. Distrust of Japanese Canadians spread along the Pacific Coast. The RCMP moved quickly to arrest suspected Japanese operatives. The Royal Canadian Navy impounded 1,200 Japanese-owned fishing boats. On the recommendation of the RCMP, Japanese newspapers and schools were voluntarily shut down to avoid racist backlash.

1200 Japanese Canadian fishing boats being rounded up in Steveston BC 1941. Three days after the bombing of Pearl harbour.

“On 16 March, the first Japanese Canadians were taken from areas 160 km inland from the Pacific coast — deemed a “protected area” — and brought to Hastings Park BC. More than 8,000 detainees were processed through Hastings Park. Women and children were housed in the Livestock Building. All property that could not be carried was taken into government custody.”

Trains then carried the Japanese detainees to Slocan, New Denver, Kaslo Greenwood, and Sandon — ghost towns in the Kootenays. I am thinking that these places were chosen because most of them had been booming towns in the mining boom, and so had empty hotels and “accommodations” albeit, quite outdated and dilapidated.

(Ken grew up in the Kootenays, originally Cristina Lake, and never really knew why there were so many Japanese people living there, it just seemed normal. He later found out that there had been an Internment camp in Fife, east and on the hillside above Christina Lake.)

“Though the camps were not surrounded with barbed wire fences, as they were in the United States, conditions were overcrowded and poor. There was no electricity or running water. Those who resisted their internment were sent to prisoner of war camps in Petawawa, Ontario; or to Camp 101 on the northern shore of Lake Superior.”

“In a further betrayal, an order-in-council signed 19 January 1943 liquidated all Japanese property that had been under the government’s “protective custody.” Homes, farms, businesses and personal property were sold. The proceeds were used to pay the costs of detaining Japanese Canadians.”

I have obtained this information from https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/japanese-internment-banished-and-beyond-tears-feature#

I guess I am quite taken that someone who has done so much to try to save our planet started off with the world treating him so badly as a child. ..David Suzuki

Well there you go 3 things about Slocan that I bet you did not know.

Thank you for reading this blog, much love from Janet, Ken and Tucker the waterfall dog…

The Summer that was….

Is it already time for Chrysanthemums to bloom? Never ceases to amaze me when I see them blooming, in fact once even wrote a song about it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iYGZjzJB4m8 . Where DID the time go?

Well it was a very hot summer, Ken built a shop, did I mention that it was a very hot summer? He has always wanted one and with help from a few friends, he has built the whole shop almost himself. Totally amazing. It is 20×30 feet.

So Ken prepared the pad for the concrete and a company came in to pour and set the concrete,

Isn’t this straight?
Ken helped the guy do the concrete

and this is how he put the walls in, he built them on the ground and then with the help of the tractor, lifted them up. Sort of like this….

OR maybe a bit more like THIS….

So then we had 2 walls up and then we had a terrible storm..

Thankfully the walls stood, made it through the storm. SO then we called for some help to get the other two walls up ASAP…. 😀

Just kidding….. 😀Actually we had help from Pete, Al and Dylan with the next stages.

I hope all these pictures are not boring, but I have just so impressed with this shop that Ken has built. Trusses…

Roofing material…

Then the metal roofing

…all done just in time to fill it up with all of my Beans that need drying now that the rains have come.Poor Ken, rapidly seeing his lovely shop filled up with vegetation….. etc.

Oh….. and on top of that Ken also put together a greenhouse that was one of those kits.

So while he did all of this, I …..took pictures 😀😀😀

WELL… I went back to work for a week in July…. then I harvested garlic.

Grew tomatoes

Grew beans, which I WILL spend the fall shelling…..😅

OH and I have started filling in the holes in the living room floor with our rocks. first picture before grout..

After grout.

Now it is time to can tomatoes, dry tomatoes, make sauce with tomatoes, make salsa with tomatoes etc etc etc. Oh and I have friends and relatives who like tomatoes too.

….and the Tromboncino Squash has sort of taken over the place, so zucchini bread, zucchini cake, zucchini noodles etc etc etc.

It has been a busy summer, I guess it takes awhile with a new house to get all the OTHER stuff done, but Ken is pretty excited to finally have a shop and I am pretty excited to have a greenhouse again.

Next spring I plan to start growing tomato plants to sell, perhaps at farmers market, like we did in the past. Maybe try to do some real farming… or at least a bit.

We are not very good at relaxing at home, we need to learn to do this better. WE ARE better when we go away, so we have left and are doing a little trip around the Arrow lakes and the Kootenays before it gets too cold up here.So here we are back to mushroom picking, here is a lobster mushroom….

and a white chanterelle, this is the only place we have ever seen them white.

You can tell from Ken’s thumb that he has just built a new shop.

Bye for now, much love to all, from Janet, Ken and Tucker, our mushroom foraging dog that tends to step on them.

🎼a new direction in life…music 🎼🎼

Ken and my lives are nothing if not changing all the time. Back in March of this year we got a request to perform at an event in Grand Forks BC (the town that Ken grew up in). The town is home to a large group of Doukhobors who immigrated to Canada in the late 1800s. Very interesting story, best read in detail here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doukhobors#Migration_to_Canada. Or do a search. The take home point for us is that they are pacifists, vegetarians and left Russia for a life where they could determine their own destiny. It was an event that is held annually, and has been for 75 years to celebrate “75 Years of Coming Together in Peace, Brotherhood and Song”

So we dusted off our guitars, and practiced for a month, got new calluses on our fingers and then headed off to Grand forks. Well we first stopped in Kelowna to practice with friends there, who were going to accompany us. AND we just fit into their driveway…. an inch to spare.

Then we had a great time practicing the songs ……. THIS one is FOR WHOM. a song based on the concept that our children do not inherit the earth from us, we BORROW IT from them.

Irene and Paul also come from Grand Forks, and Irene was the one who “promoted” 😃 us for this event.

We spent Friday night at Lizzies place (Irene’s sister) and one of “the grasshoppers” a band of girls, sisters and cousins who have been playing together for ??? 50 years. Oh and look at Tucker the photo bomber.

AND then the main event. A Doukhobor mens choir involving many generations.

We were dead last on the agenda….. which is always hard, because you spend the whole time getting more nervous. IT HAD been over 3 years. AND I WAS nervous, it DOES take a few verses to get the air moving properly through the vocal chords 🥺🥺 AND there was someone in audience to capture our performance and so here it is. Women in Black after all these years.

I must say that the event was life changing for me. We got such a great response, it just felt so great. Since we moved back to Canada we just have not received so much interest as we did in the US, the politics seemed of less interest in Canada. I guess my fragile musical ego, sort of crumbled after a few events in our area….. and so I guess I put the music away on a shelf somewhere, TOOK on different things.

But to play at an event that was held by a large group of Pacifists, it inspired me. The real message of the event was Peace, and peace comes with pacifism, and not choosing sides.

At the same time, we are now BOTH retired and free to travel, so I am thinking that as we travel this fall that we will try to find events with political motivations that we can perform at. It will make for a very different winter journey… ROCKS and music.

NOW HIS GUY is a real boon to our music…… when we think he is ready for a nap, we just pull out our guitars and he just snuggles into a chair and goes to sleep. Not quite sure what that means, but he just seems mesmerized when we play. ….

Plant Identification.

Oh and I should tell you all about our latest bread ingredient. We have TONS of morel mushrooms, and so I have dried them and put them through the food processor to make them into powder and then just add that with the flour while making bread and presto…. mushroom bread. Incredibly moist, dark and Talon seems to love it.

I guess I am feeling like we are getting our Mojo back…..

Much love from Janet, Ken and Tucker the photobomber hound.

Mushroom …….. are you?

Our wonderful grandson Talon, has been mushroom hunting with us, and although we are trying to get him to say more complete sentences… it is just SO DARNED CUTE when he misses the word, where. Sadly we have not found any morels on the days we have taken him hunting, but we have found LOTS on the days we have not taken him😀

I guess we have been hunting morels for the past 3 weeks and have been having SO MUCH FUN.

Although most of the hunting going on around us has been in sites of fires from last summer, we have stuck to our tried and true spots from previous years. I am on a BC morel mushroom site on Facebook and people are posting pictures with buckets of mushrooms. WHAT FUN.

Some talk about this as being their first year hunting morels, and what excitement to find their FIRST morel, I responded that it makes no difference first or thousandth. The joy does not wear off. It is still such a thrill to find each and every one.

We have been enjoying them many different ways.

Several days of morel and pesto pizza….. I have researched the nutritional benefits of morels, and the most appealing benefit is iron. We (for the most part) eat a plant based diet (formerly known as Vegan) and for other reasons as well I tend to run low in the iron department, and hate taking iron pills because they make your stomach feel so queasy ……. so I have been drying LOTS of morels with the hopes of combining them with the dried garlic scapes, and creating a powder to sprinkle on everything.

My niece recently converted a van into an RV, and said that getting onto the toilet was a good yoga exercise, and I must say that bushwhacking must be as well, because I feel MUCH more flexible after climbing over and under branches of trees, and stepping down steep cliffs and climbing up them. We wish we had trained Tucker how to sniff out morels because he IS a hound dog, but likely too old now to learn a new trick

We have had a few days that we have been totally skunked. Nary even a tiny mushroom, but we had great fun with a Weiner roast. VEGGIE wieners of course. They are making them MUST better than they did 30 years ago when we tried to convert our kids.

More mushrooms emerge under several optimal conditions, several optimal conditions. One of them is elevation. We tend to search at the lowest of our sites starting usually in early April, but this year they were very late, showing up closer to early May. They have a specific date and only last so long, and then we go higher up.

We made an amazing discovery this year. ……. As I wrote about last summer, we started getting deliveries of wood chips whenever the tree trimmers were in our area. We likely got about 40 loads last summer and we used the tractor to cover our entire garden (about an acre) with wood chips. This is to provide both a way to soak up excess water……. and a way to deal with lack of rain. The wood chips absorb the moisture. Last summer was so hot and dry, I figured that this would reduce the need for watering, keep the surface of the ground protected, and nourished.

Well the wonderful “unintended consequence” is that I have discovered morel mushrooms all over my yard, anywhere we put wood chips last summer. So in a way, I have my own morel garden. 🍄 (although THIS emoji is an Amanita the poison type…)

Another interesting thing about morel mushrooms is that there are many different types of morels and so in any given area, you will likely only find one type. The cool thing about my garden is that I have many different types, which essentially means that there are likely many different sources. Each year when we gather mushrooms, I always put a cloth under where I am cutting them and then shake the cloth out in the garden with the hopes that the spores will find a comfy spot to rest and then grow, so it could be that many of the mushrooms actually came from spores from previous years pickings.

We are forever trying to think like a mushroom,……… MUSHROOM…. ARE YOU? Some are sneaky.

On a totally different topic ( and I MEAN TOTALLY DIFFERENT). While I have been writing this blog, I have been sitting at the Kamloops Breast clinic, getting an odd breast thing checked out. I have learned something new here today and want to share it with all the women out there who might be in a similar situation.

In recent years it has been shown that women with dense breasts not only have a higher risk of breast cancer, but mammograms do not show cancers up as well. So in BC there is now a clinic that offers annual screening ultrasounds for women with breast density C or D. The breast density is reported on all mammograms since 2018, and you are given a score of A, (mostly fatty), B (less fatty) C (dense) D (very dense) The document below gives better details

The good news is that BC is now offering annual breast ultrasound screening for people who fit into C or D density. The bad news is that it is only available in Vancouver. You do need a referral for these annual screening tests. I will update this as I find out more information about the clinic.

So we are hoping to have another fine week hunting mushrooms, but on Friday we are going to Grand Forks to perform on Saturday at the Doukabour Peace festival. This will be the first time we have performed since before covid….. and we are quite excited. Stay tuned for details, and hopefully a video.

Much love to all Janet, Ken and Tucker the (non mushroom hunting hound dog)