Who the heck was John Day?

Once again we are on the road and all the way down in Oregon, checking out the John Day river area. It does seem that everything in central/eastern Oregon is named after John Day. I have heard his name for years, and thought while we were in the area I would find out all about all the great things he did to get stuff named after him.  I started here at John Day National Monument :Site Clarno  (what this means is that there are more than one John Day National Monument sites.) This is one of 3.


At this site there was a plaque with the question Who was John Day?  I had not thought I would find the answer so quickly.    🤔  This is what the plaque said:  “John Day came to Oregon in 1812 as part of an overland expedition to the new Pacific Fur Company post in Astoria. The once large party split up into many small groups before reaching the Oregon Territory. While camped where the mouth of the Mah-hah River meets the Columbia, John Day and Ramsay Crooks were robbed of all their belongings, including clothing. Luckily they were rescued by a party of trappers also headed to Astoria.

John Day became well known at the trading post. Whenever others would pass the spot of the incident, they would point out where he had been robbed. By the 1850’s, the Mah-hah River had been renamed the John Day River. As far as historians can tell, John Day never found a fossil nor came within 100 miles of the monument that indirectly bears his name.”

SO the RIVER was named after him. How it all started……img_5414

What a lucky guy, get robbed and then have a river named after you.   Look at how hard the present occupant of the white house is trying to get a wall named after him Thinking_Face_Emoji_large

But wait, the story does not end here. . . .

It turns out that it was Thomas Condon who named the national monuments after John Day, not that John Day had ever been anywheres near the fossil beds in the area, its just it was the John Day river that had carved out the area, exposing the fossils.  Thomas Condon was an Irish presbyterian minister, and amateur  geologist who actually was the one who discovered the fossils.   info on Thomas Condon

I guess I was particularly interested in the town of Condon, as it is the married name of one of my sisters.  So I stopped to take a pictureimg_5400

Turns out there is another town just down the way called “Bates”. It seems that a lot more things should be named Condon, VS John Day 🤔


We have found plenty on the John Day river to explore, since this river winds through fossil beds, it also winds  through  a volcanic region, which is always great for agates and the things we hunt for.  The hard thing is finding gravel bars that are accessible. They usually seem to be across the river from where we are.img_5415

It really is a slow meandering kind of river, that suits us just fine.


This series of 3 hills appeared to be the same except that the closest one was more eroded, the second one less eroded and the third un eroded.



So these are the “palisades”. There are 3 sites that make up the John Day national monument and this one is called Clarno.  I found this info on it “The mostly grassy hillsides bordering the creek are interrupted for a mile or so by a line of jagged, eroded cliffs – the Palisades – which contain a large number of plant fossils, including leaves, sticks and trunks, plus less common animal fossils, all relics of a time when this region was moist and well vegetated, unlike the arid, high desert conditions that prevail today. Facilities are limited to a picnic area, interpretive notices and three trails; the unit is unstaffed, and there are no large towns nearby. It does have a research center (Hancock Field Station), facilitating ongoing paleontological investigations, but this, and the fossil excavation sites, are not open to the public.”

So pretty ho hum.  But we shall explore the other sites.

……Back to John Day…….. It turns out there is also a town named after him because the town is on the  John Day river.   Given the fame of his name, historians would attempt to find out more about him. It seems that there were 3 deaths he succumbed to as well, in 1812, 1813 and (perhaps finally) in 1819.    story of the city of John Day

Perhaps dying 3 times might be worthy of at least SOME fame……..True story……..image


We have been on the road for a week now, our last evening visit with Dylan, Sarah, and the very clever Talon.


Where other babies are working on mundane things like walking talking, crawling, Talon has mastered …….img_5363

…..chewing his toenails… clever boy.img_1321

Thats all for now.

Much love from Janet, Ken and Tucker (the ever present rock hound)img_5399


a Greta forest

Thinking_Face_Emoji_large  I was one of the many who got out and protested with Greta over the past month, and I was trying to think about how to help carry forward her climate strike.   What could I do to decrease the carbon, so that Greta, and HER generation will have a world that was livable… “in-able” ….for all? Thinking_Face_Emoji_large Now what could I change?


I could make a forest, a Greta forest.image


This year the Pine tree at the centre of our drive way, sent out at least 50-60 new seedlings that were growing under the tree, where there is also a garden. I dug them all up and kept them moist and in dirt. (they would not have survived where they were)

So I have now replanted about 60 seedlings up this bank with the hopes that it will be a forest by the time Greta is 50….. or my grandson Talon is 35.


I must admit that I do LOVE watching tree seedlings grow, so it will be fun to watch them all grow, perhaps I can report back here.

Other “things” I brought from our old property were my red Wiggler worms. For several years I kept them indoors and fed them veggie scraps, but eventually I  decided to try keeping them out doors.  Red Wigglers do not survive out doors as a rule, because they do not go very deep in the soil, as other worms to, so they will freeze in the winter.

Last year however I devised a way to keep them in the garden. I dug a deep hole and filled it with lots of yummy things like rotting food, leaves and straw.  I then put all of my worms into the whole and covered them up with more food and more mulch.


I know that they look gross, and when they were living in our basement, my sister once said to me “Janet I really wish you had not told me that there were worms in your basement”


But they make the very best soil.  So on top of all of this I  put a large black compost bin, wood chips around the edge, and more mulch inside. Then when the weather gets cold, I put a large tarp on top of all of this, and say nighty night to the worms for the winter.  They survived last year and created great “castings”, AKA worm poop, which is like gold to gardeners. So I was not about to leave them at the old place, I brought them to the new place and they are tucked nicely down in the soil for the winter.

image THAT IS until I hit the compost bin with the tractor bucket image  My first mishap with driving the new tractor, whoops.  nothing a lot of duct take could not fix.

I was recently at a medical conference and met up with a friend from Chilliwack (we used to live in Chilliwack). I was telling her about our “gravel pit project”.  She said, “did you know that Minter Gardens was built on a gravel pit.  Anyone from BC would know about Minter gardens, a huge beautiful attraction outside of Chilliwack.


A friend of mine who lives in the Juniper area of Kamloops has a small garden and last year she purchased a lavender plant that did well last year, but died over the winter. However then she noticed it had not died without leaving something behind……. at least a hundred baby lavender plants showed up this year. So she was digging them out and have gifted me with all of these plants.  There are not totally hardy in our area, so will tuck them all in with lots of nice wood chips for the winter img_5300

AND presto, next year we will have Bates garden, or Lavenders of the lake.  Stay tuned for that.

Much Love from Janet, Ken and Tucker

grapes and happy anniversary Ken…

Of course, now that the garlic is planted, it is time for the grapes.   We had extremely productive grapes at our last place and each year I would take cuttings, stick them in the ground and have whole new grape plants  the next year, so we had many of these “cuttings” to move on  ..with us.  I hope this area is as grape friendly as Scotch Creek was.


Speaking of garlic, I found a few more huge garlic at Demilles in Salmon Arm on Wednesday,  and went to plant them, and thought I would try a different technique, because our backs were sore from bending down.  I had read where gardeners planting seedling plants would go along with a tube and just let each seedling plant drop down the tube, so thought I would try it with the garlic ….. and since we have a “plethora” of tubes around the property, I found THIS tube with a bend in it. The holes have been dug by the garlic planter, and so I just dropped the garlic down the tube……


See the holes…..and the garlic just falls right into the hole with the root side down….


and then I just cover it over with my foot….It was amazing… I think that the fact that the tube was bent, made the garlic clove pick up speed and hit the ground solid.


image  So I am thinking that this invention could  revolutionize garlic planting and I am ALL FOR REVOLUTION….  I am thinking you could create a tube that has a side bag for holding the cloves….you could make different tubes different sizes for the different sized cloves.Thinking_Face_Emoji_large  AND…… how about a coffee cup holder….a place for your phone… OK nuff said.

Of course I would not be posting a blog about this if I believed that, imagebut it was QUITE a finding that could make the process easier. Now other pretty things to distract me along the way……. just look at these cool rocks I ran over with the tractor.


who needs a rock saw when you have a tractor…

Yesterday was our 36th anniversary,  imageI could have sworn it was like… 38 years…. but we have been on this trip for a long time, with all of its ups, downs and ….them “BIG bumps in the road”.

I wrote this song about our journey, a few years ago, with a view into the future, looking at our parents, and how their journeys went. It is called WOULD IT STILL BE OK?

of course this is with our “brilliant” grandson, Talon.  Please have a listen it REALLY is a great love song.

Much love to all… Janet Ken and Tucker


the field behind the plow…..

Playing catch up is what we are up to……. catching this new property up to where the old property was at, not wanting to miss a beat.  We have had a wonderful harvest, at the last place, and if we play our cards right,….. we might…. just might… just have something similar, SMALLER, but similar next year…. We just cannot imagine a summer without raspberries.

So I started out with a hoe, and other simple implements preparing the beds for planting garlic.   LOTSA work.  Lotsa ROCKS….  I had this idea that we invite the rockhounding club out to look for rocks, show them all the wonderful rocks we have found here and … feel free to take any home with you………


BUT… Ken had a better idea.  THIS wonderful blue thing is “Ken’s Idea”


We started looking around at what “real” farmers were using, and thinking how much more we could grow without further impairing our precious backs…..(we ARE going to need them in the future)

WOW, what a difference it makes with the Bates project, MACHINE AGE……… We now have a tractor!  So we are now like………


“Green Acres is the place to be.
Farm livin’ is the life for me.
Land spreadin’ out so far and wide
Keep Manhattan, just give me that countryside. ”





So we are now able to do a rough…. roughing up of the earth to make it softer, then we have the loan of this incredible Garlic barrel planter, that friends of ours have fashioned to make the indentations in the “soft ground” at just the right distances.  Scary tool!



The holes look something like this (until Tucker walks all over them) img_5250

So the deal is, you just put the garlic cloves into these holes and cover them over. (making sure that the pointy side is up)

And that is that!   …..our soil looks pretty good, but it is totally without any organic component, so we have had a large load of “hog fuel” delivered.  Hog fuel is basically leftovers at the “mill” of SPF  spruce, pine, fir.


Here is the garden planted, 4 long rows of garlic, 4500, garlic.   4 Fruit trees on the right, and black berries and raspberries up along the bank where you cannot see.


and from the other side, a little while later…


I feel so much better that the earth is covered….no longer naked.

Ready to persevere the cold winter.

We hope so.

Much love to all Janet Ken and Tucker


well well well …….

WELL …it turns out that there is more than just gravel on this property. We have found some of the most beautiful rocks here…. many even better than we find down south in the winter.  I haven’t posted anything here because we have not had our saw up and running to be able to cut them…… but sometimes I am just not good at waiting….. Here is one I found today that has faint amethyst colouring, with waterline agate at the bottom. We have heard that there are amethyst in the area.


This one we did cut before we packed up our saw.   Beautiful blue banding, this is either opal/agate, or some kind of jasper.


thinking that this one is Jade


some other kind of agate…..  This all makes weeding in the garden easier, because you never know when you are going to come across a really cool rock.image


But the real …well well well…. was about our well. We did get power Friday and septic a few weeks ago, but we still do not have water, awaiting the… “putting in of the pump”  part of getting water.  The well was done a few months ago, but the pump needed to be dropped down and I found it kind of interesting, so if YOU find it interesting, here is the story.  Despite having done this house thing several times, we have never been so “intimately involved” in the well process.


So you can see in front of the ladder a 6 inch pipe, that is essentially the well,  It goes down 40 feet, and there is a good supply of water. HOWEVER, it needs a pump to get it up and onwards to our house.  THIS IS THE PUMP.img_5151

It is attached to power, and a 1 1/2 inch pipe, and this will go down 28 feet….. to where the water is.  So it will be immersed in the water.

This is a rather precarious position, a ladder over the hole with 2 2x6s, and me standing on the end as a counter weight, taking pictures image  NICE VIEWimg_5153


Then this is the key to the whole project, it is called a “pitless adaptor”, and although none of this made any sense to me when Ken was explaining it all to me ……., it turned out to be important…. read on.


AND THIS is what the pitless adaptor, adapts to. This picture is from the outside of the well about 8 feet down.  So Ken dropped down the pipe attached to the pitless adaptor, and it snugged up right next to this brass fitting.



So I watched from here for the pitless adaptor to line up with this fitting…. and presto, it just clicked into place….. so that we could attach THIS


…. and then THIS


and this photo is taken further back showing the pipe leading into the underground trench… and the precarious platform.


So our fresh water indicator is RED in the motor home, meaning that we are close to running out of water. Not a big deal, we have wine….. and tomorrow is another day.


thank goodness for “another days”.

Much Love to all from Janet, Ken and Tucker (who is starting to make this place his own)







Don’t wish your life away……

My mother always told me when I was young that I was going to wish my life away, it was always something I could not wait for… Christmas, Halloween, my birthday…. the last day of work before leaving on holidays, the last final exam……and she was right.  I tend to get so excited for a day to pass, and then….. all of a sudden it is gone.   September 27th has come and gone, just like that. (and it just reminded me of my mum)

We essentially sold our house 2.5 months ago and September 27th was the closing date. It has been stressful purchasing another property,  before getting the funds from the first.  Doing things in this order DOES have its advantages though, it has allowed us the time to get totally set up at the new property before we needed to be out of the last.  It has also allowed us the time to move our stuff.  AND we were taking the final load out of the house the morning of the  “deal closing”.   We did manage to get the compost and the last pile of wood chips.  ……and  we have now…..officially “moved on”

Here is a final picture with a few things remaining in garage


the place we left behind……..



master BR and ensuiteimg_5129img_5128

living roomimg_5065




shower downstairs…..


It was a nice house and tonite someone else is making it into “their home”.

I guess, even though the deal had no subject to’s, we have worried for all this time that something might fall through…. and we might be in a financial bind   .image.png

So yesterday finally came and the money got deposited, and AMAZINGLY, BC hydro showed up to hook our power up at the new place.  (We HAD been given a 2 week window of possible hook up days. ( Like so many things you are waiting for, all seem to happen at the same time)img_5132


True hero’s …. these guys image.pngTwo things that come to mind, I can now plug my car in at home, and Ken can start drying the apples and pears.

We shall now start to focus on the garden, and it is amazing that the “cover crops” I had planted are actually coming up.



Daikon radish


Bean sprouts


Fall Rye…..


So happy to be getting something starting to grow, so I have something to” tend to”…. so as not to miss Scotch Creek too much.  Actually we are not sentimental at all, and the hardest thing to leave behind is the dirt that I spent 8 years building up.  I just wish I could have gotten a loader and a dump truck and brought all of the dirt with us. I am sure the new owners might have been a tad disappointed though.

image.pngLove Janet, Ken and Tucker (who seems to be coming to terms with where we live now)


the harvest WILL be preserved!!!

On top of moving, we are also madly trying to save whatever we can of our garden for the fall.  We have had a wonderful year, this year,  with great harvests of heirloom tomatoes, potatoes, and zucchini.  In fact, we have never had more potatoes than we did this year, so pretty much every dinner involves tomato, potato, zucchini and garlic. or some combination of 3 of them.img_5055

We also have parsley growing everywhere at our Scotch Creek house, because I had a plant that went to seed last year. So parsley is making it into many dishes as well.  I have saved all of the seed heads of all of the plants that went to seed this year, and scattered them all over the garden area, with the hopes that they will provide some competition for the weeds that are already flourishing in the newly “ploughed” area. So with any luck, next year we should have volunteer dill, parsley, carrots, Japanese lettuce…. and much more.

We are pretty sure we can achieve similar harvests to this year with the veggies, but the fruit…. not so much.  We are especially sad to be giving up the 2 asian pear trees, as it will take a few years to get newly planted fruit trees up to the volumes our Scotch Creek trees produce.img_5056

AND especially important…. our wonderful  grandson Talon (shown here with his lovely mum, Sarah) LOVES pears.  So we are taking a 5 gallon bucket to them today so he can eat OUR pears.img_5034-1

We have another bucket that we will dry ….. once we get power…..HOPEFULLY in time, before they get too ripe.

Tucker is struggling a little with all of this back and forth, I cannot begin to imagine what is going on in his head, he tends to avoid getting out of the car with trips back and forth, and other times he refuses to get IN the car.img_5009

He creeped over the our neighbours yard (in Scotch Creek) and skulked off with a stuffed ninja turtle, and brought it up to our new place. I cannot give the toy back now because it is covered in MUD.

With regards to the “moving” we are doing, I thought I would show some pictures of a device Ken bought at Canadian tire this year that has revolutionized the process. It is a new dolly with additional settings that has allowed Ken to move most of the larger items more easily.




It’s all about levers and inclined planes. (physics)  So if anyone has a “move” somewhere in their horizons, definitely a “must have”.  Ken Loves his new tool.

Much love to all, Janet, Ken and Tucker (the confused little dog)

twas all fun and games till the rains came

Now it is water water everywhere, but not a drop to drink. We still do not have electricity, which is fine, except that we will need electricity to get to the well pump, AND I have electric car. Normally  I just plug it in when I get home and it is charged by the next day (at home we just plug into a regular outlet and it take about 24 hours to fully charge from empty.  However with no electricity I have been having to drive down to the rapid charger in Chase (about 8 miles from our place) every few days.  It is free to charge there and takes about 40 minutes.img_5040

In case you were wondering, YES we are STILL moving. The house has been empty for over a week now, but having had a “farm”, …… there are a lot of things to move the yard.

Ken and I have moved 8 times in our 36 years. I can remember the last stage of each move, and it is never pretty.  All those last minute items crammed into some box, …. to be rediscovered at some time in the ? future.   It is always a difficult time where you cannot find anything.

So the property has had a “trench running through it”, going from the power pole to the well. It now has the power cable in it, as well as the water line.


So in running the power cable and the water line, we have had to run both of them into the “shed”, so that we could put a temporary electric panel in the shed, as well as a pressure tank. Normally all of this would just go into the house, but since we need a place to live while all this is going on, we have had to take these extra steps.


So the shed was put OVER the trench, so that the power lines and water lines could be brought up through the floor.

We have not been able to move forward on anything, because the electrical inspector did not approve the safety inspection and then required several other “actions”. So we have been stuck with the trench, not being able to move the SeaCans because they could not cross the trench, ….. we cannot get the B C hydro to even put us on a list to hook up the power until the electrical safety inspection was approved. So we have been in a holding pattern, thank goodness yesterday, they approved the trench, and power lines VIA pictures, so the guy with the excavator has filled in all of the trenches today. There has been a time constraint there because he has just retired and is wanting to put all of his equipment up for sale.  So here the lower area has been filled in.



And this is from a different perspective……. There we have our home sweet home.


Our life is pretty chaotic, we have too much stuff in the motorhome, awaiting the seacans to start moving stuff into.

While we are doing all of this, I am reading a book called “A Fine Balance” by Rohinton Mistry.   A book set in 1975 India “With a compassionate realism and narrative sweep that recall the work of Charles Dickens, this magnificent novel captures all the cruelty and corruption, dignity and heroism, of India.
The time is 1975. The place is an unnamed city by the sea. The government has just declared a State of Emergency, in whose upheavals four strangers–a spirited widow, a young student uprooted from his idyllic hill station, and two tailors who have fled the caste violence of their native village–will be thrust together, forced to share one cramped apartment and an uncertain future.”


Reading about the situation of the lower caste characters in this story, as you follow their struggles to find a place to sleep at night, it would seem that our current living situation would be like a castle to many….. so I shall think of it as such.

Goodnight from “the castle”

Much love, Janet, Ken and Tucker (the protector in chief of the castle)



IT starts

Everything is always more fun in the motorhome even amidst the CHAOS we are living in.  We have been living here now for 3 weeks, and LOVING IT.

We have a platform that our son Dylan had just out on his property, and we are using it as a deck. We have TONS of tomatoes, ripening each day from the Scotch Creek (SC) house, so I am trying to make more tomato sauce each day.


We are bringing over all of the Basil we had growing in pots in SC, and its giving the place a nice greenery.


and of course we have the sprouts on the go inside…


The 2 SeaCans are almost full and we have ordered a  shed to house the temporary electrical and water stuff, until they can be housed in our house. Doesn’t look like much now, but after we are done with it, it will be our guest house. 😊  I think we are going to store stuff in there that we want access to, but do not have room for in motor home.img_4993

That ridge of dirt behind the shed is actually the Septic field. They were saying how easy it was to put in here in the middle of a gravel pit.  All of the raw material present, as well as all of the equipment.

This was yesterday starting the septic field.


The motorhome is now sitting about where the house will sit



THIS DITCH is to run the electricity from the power line to a temporary spot, then to the shed, and eventually all the way up to the well, to provide power to the pump.



so in this picture you can see where the well is, top right of picture.  The power has to go all the way from where the pole in bottom left of this picture to where machine is top right.


So this is another view from where the well is, a  machine digging back towards the shed, and eventually where the house will be.


………. and there is Tucker observing. I have to say I have been kind of nervous with Tucker and all these machines, but machines that make that much noise, make him nervous, so he becomes VELCRO dog….


So this is where we are at tonite, the septic field is finished behind the motorhome, power “line” is half way to the shed.


We are really just getting everything ready for the power, as there will not be any power until BC HYDRO comes and puts in a transformer and hooks it all up, sometime in October.  So technically we will not have water until then, since it will take the power to run the pump to get the water to us.  We do have a septic now though.  We can get water in barrels at the artisan well up the road, and we have solar for power, so we are just fine.

And what blog would be complete without an update on the wonderful, talented, and entertaining Talon, who has just mastered PAB LUM


His Daddy, will be our plumber for this whole project, so I am sure he will come to watch Daddy work. 😊


Much Love to all, and our thoughts are with the people of the Bahamas who’s entire lives have been ripped apart.

I thought i would share a song I wrote about the indonesian Tsunami, but it is written from the perspective of those people wondering if they are going to survive this storm.
Sadly I cannot figure out how to change the picture with this link.  More work needed to match picture with song.  So ignore picture  Save Our Souls




A moving story…….

Made you look. 😀   I decided that it is very hard to write a blog about moving (which is what we are doing), so I decided to do what the media does all the time… Give a wild headline that really has nothing to do with the story, in order suck you into the article.  That being said, this is a photo I took up at Sun Peaks last Saturday. We took the back roads up to Sun Peaks on a side by side (UTV) ( essentially 30 KM or so, vs a 140 km trip on the highways) only problem….. the UTV is not licensed, so once we get to Sun Peaks we have to park it on the outskirts and walk in to town.

For those not from around here, Sun Peaks is a smaller, newer version of Whistler, BC


There was a tight rope walking event up there that was fascinating and also scenic with the black sky and ski hill in the background.  Speaking of the black sky, it rained heavily on our way back down the mountain.

Back to moving….img_4963


As you can see we have almost filled up the first Sea Can. (8x20x8 feet)

However, just as important is to pack up all of the seed heads for the next garden.

This is the dill.


Over the years here, we have developed a “volunteer garden”.   We encourage…. or just LET the plants go to seed, and attempt to provide a nourishing place for the wandering seeds to lay down roots.

Plants like Dill, or cilantro, or fennel, will produce seeds in the year you plant them, and then spread the seeds all over the place, so the next year you have all of these plants just growing on their own. I must say that they find the best place to grow much better than I would.

We always get a few tomato plants where the compost pile has been, and amazingly, they often catch up with the tomato plants I have been coddling along in my green house.

Other plants take 2 years to achieve this, and this is where they need a little help. Carrots, if kept alive over the winter will bloom in its second year. The flower is amazing and the bees totally love it. It produced a plethora of seeds and I find they do much better than the ones I grow from seed.  I find if I cover a few carrots with mulch, they will survive to produce these seed heads.


Apparently beets would do the same, but I have never been successful at growing beets in the first place.  Last year I discovered Parsley produced a beautiful plant in the second year that spreads seeds everywhere. Parsley had become a major “green” for us.  Tabouli calls for a lot of parsley.

So  the point of all of this information about seeds is that all of these seeds are part of packing and moving. We need to get all these seed heads moved and sprinkled around with the hopes that even on plant grows to carry on the “tradition”

Other exciting “plant” information is that we are on the wetter side of the shuswap, there are more cedars and definitely more mushrooms.


we are also along side the Mount Baldie trailhead, which we climbed a few days ago, in the pouring rain.img_4908

Somehow I feel so much closer to Oregon, despite we are only 10 minutes closer.

Today is international dog day, and this is my dog song……

Much love to all From Janet, Ken and Tucker….