WHEN in Rome……

Rome, Oregon is a small town in Malheur county Oregon.  If Malheur county sounds familiar, it was in the news 2 years ago when the Malheur wildlife refuge centre was OCCUPIED by Idaho ranchers….. you can read more here. OCCUPATION OF MALHEUR REFUGE SITE

To call Rome a small town is an exaggeration.  Rome has a cafe, RV park and gas station, and they are all one place. The cafe likely seats 12 people, 13 with a highchair. RV park has 8 sites and…. well gas station is Expensive.  The only OTHER place I could see what a farm in the distance.

rome station

I did not take this picture and it really does make the place look bigger than it is.  I was surprised, since we WERE in the middle of nowhere when I asked about camping for the night and she asked me if we had a reservation.  This time of year we NEVER get asked about reservations, and never make them.  What the draw was, I later found, was it IS hunting season, and none of the OTHER hunters appeared to be Rock hunting, and their dogs were NOT rock hounds.  We felt rather safe at this rather disheveled campground, because we knew that absolutely EVERYONE else had a gun EEEEK..

This next picture I also did not take image because we were in Rome for one reason and one reason only  ROCKS.  But on reading about the town later on, I found out how the town got such a unique name……… The Pillars of Rome


We learned a powerful lesson in Rome.

The place were WE went hunting was about 8 miles south of the Rome Station, and another 5 miles off the highway.img_5514

We were looking for Snake skin agates and green opal. BOTH of which were very beautiful, and while we did not find a lot of snake skin agates, we found lots of Green opal of a variety of shades….. ALL OF WHICH would look good on the floor of our new house.

So I offered to go back to get the jeep and bring it closer to where we were.  Only, turns out, I went totally in the wrong direction.img_5513

As you can see, not much difference either way.  No land marks.  No cell coverage. I walked for a LONG ways, eventually coming to the conclusion that I had somehow MISSED the Jeep.  So then I thought, I will walk in the direction of the road (OR at least where I thought the road was). Not much luck there either.  Finally, I decided to use my noggin(as my mother referred to it as) and go to the highest point I could see.  I should add at this point that I also had a GPS, but being a poor one, it only showed red dots and it was hard to know if I was getting closer or further way from them.

From the highest point I could see Ken (he has a way of wearing obnoxiously visible clothing and it was bright orange that day)  He was a long ways away, and did not see me, because I am MUCH more stylish than him image  I was wearing a lovely shade of red that was much closer to camouflage…..   Fortunately Tucker (remember him…) saw Ken and went racing towards him.  Tucker always likes us all the be together. Turns out I was at least a mile and a half from the Jeep, and when Ken went back to the Jeep, it was not much help because I had the keys….

Needless to say we had a joyful reunion and went back to looking for rocks.

Now these are not great pictures, it is 5 in the morning so not much light….. but they are common opal. “COMMON” opal is usually white.


The more valuable “Precious Opal” is a rainbow of colours and personally I think seem a little TOO bright, almost fake like.  However I found this…. “Because opal has the colors of other gems, the Romans thought it was the most precious and powerful of all. The Bedouins believed that opals contained lightning and fell from the sky during thunderstorms. When Australia’s mines began to produce opals commercially in the 1890s, it quickly became the world’s primary source for this October birthstone.”

I do not have any “precious opal”,  but our property has lots of white opal and this is the first time we have found green opal.img_5543

These will all need to be cut to show their real beauty.

Much love to all, from Janet, Ken and our utterly useless (when you are lost) hound Dog Tucker.img_5548

Snake skin agates…..

Once again we are making a run for it through Nevada. Usually it is to avoid the low night temperatures, this year it is to avoid the low night temperatures AND the snow.

Joshua trees in the snow.


We have had a few days of doing jigsaw puzzles and listening to the impeachment hearings…..  We did venture out yesterday in Fallon Nevada to hunt for rocks in strong winds and rain, but it was NOT FUN.  

Green mountain on a very cold day


We are also being hounded by the CRA (Canada revenue agency) the equivalent to the IRS.  Not really sure why if we file our taxes in March, they wait until November when we head south to start hassling us.  They do this to us every year, and every year we show them that we did everything right, but yet they keep doing this every year. The GOOD thing is that I no longer take it very seriously, and don’t get all stressed out about it.  The hard thing is that each time we have called this week it has been an hour on hold on the phone. The classical music playing during the hold, then gets totally STUCK in my head for the next few days.  REALLY?  I think they need a few more phone answerers.



Just before leaving Canada I received my new Almond Cow, a machine for making nut milks.  It is saving us many trips to the grocery stores, AND trips to dump garbage. (very little recycling in campgrounds) We are using mostly cashews.  Pictures here of walnuts. One cup into the container…. plus one date.img_5338

The metal jug gets filled with water, you push a button on top and it goes through 3 stages, which takes less than a minute. VOILA..  You take the top off which contains the pulp (more on that later)


You get a big jug of milk


Then I pour the pulp into storage containers, there are a huge series of recipes you can make from the pulp.


My first attempt was to make granola, which you mix the pulp with other granola stuff and then bake in oven.



Next time I think I will try to make Hummus with the pulp. (just google nut pulp recipes)

I should note that you do not need a machine to make the nut milks, you just need a  food processor and a nut bag to squeeze out the nut pulp.  This machine is a bit tidier for me.

So yesterday we drove from Fallon (4300 ft elevation), where it was stormy, but not snowy.  We drove south on HWY 95, through Tonopah (6200 ft elevation) where it was snowing and extremely foggy.  NO stops for pictures, no stops for anything.  We have never had to negotiate this vehicle in snow, and do not want to.  We were a bit sad because Tonopah is one of our favourite places to rock hunt.


We drove on to Beatty, where we are now, 3200 ft elevation and the lowest it got last night was 6 degrees celcius ( 42 F.) Very black sky, only light rain last night.



Some of the coolest rocks we have found recently are called Snake skin agates.  They are extremely unique, and when cutimg_5542

Or broken in this case….. quite pretty on the inside


This is called wonder stone, it is quite pretty, but we have decided we prefer Jasper which is more dense. So these are more “catch and release” or catch, take picture and release.


This one, I believe is a limb cast agate, formed inside a tube in rock. Note the snake skin appearance of the underlying rock.


WE are thinking that this is variscite but will need to cut it to make certain.


We are thinking of heading over to eastern Nevada/Utah today, but you never know.

Much love from Janet, Ken and Tucker.



Chips and gravy….

Canadians, for the most part, had never heard of Poutine, until it was discussed as being a Canadian dish 10-15 years ago.  It was actually a Quebec dish that gained popularity there in the 1950s.

Image result for poutine

However, CHIPS and gravy are MORE of a Canadian dish.  In high school, it was a daily lunch dish at the cafeteria, and served in most restaurants that served chips (of french fries)

Image result for chips and gravy


The gravy differs from the US gravy found in biscuits and gravy there, in that it is a brown, beef gravy whereas the American favourite dish is made from sausage gravy, and a much lighter colour.

Photo of Easy Sausage Gravy and Biscuits by JimmyDean

During the 13 years we lived in the US, and all the travels to there, I am proud to say I have never had biscuits and gravy.  That being said, I have rarely had chips and gravy in the past 20 years either. This is mostly because the gravy is high in fat,  and the chips are deep fried and high in fat, and fat is something I have tried to minimize over the years. (family history of heart disease)

This past summer I grew a bumper crop of potatoes for the first time ever. We had buckets of potatoes to “use up” before leaving for the US, because they could not  cross the border with us, being a root crop.  So we had potato dishes almost every night for a month.  Scalloped potatoes, potato soup….. more scalloped potatoes, but as the title suggests, I have delved further into chips and gravy.

Potatoes are such a great comfort food, but have gotten a bad rap as being unhealthy.   According to the USDA, over half of all potatoes in the U.S. are sold for making French fries, and this is perhaps why potatoes have such a bad reputation.

“100-gram (g) or 3.5- ounce serving is a little more than half of a medium size potato. This much white potato, baked with skin

  • 94 calories
  • 0.15 grams of fat
  • 0 grams of cholesterol
  • 21.08 grams of carbohydrate
  • 2.1 grams of dietary fiber
  • 2.10 grams of protein
  • 10 milligrams (mg) of calcium
  • 0.64 mg of iron
  • 27 mg of magnesium
  • 75 mg of phosphorus
  • 544 mg of potassium
  • 12.6 mg of vitamin C
  • 0.211 mg of vitamin B6
  • 38 micrograms (mcg) of folate

Potatoes also provide niacin, choline, and zinc. Different varieties provide slightly different nutrients.”

I read a book a few years ago about the early gold diggers in the Yukon, and Jack London became well known writing of his experiences at this time. However the book I read was ABOUT Jack London and how closely he came to dying of Scurvy, a disease caused by lack of Vitamin C.  He (and many others) were saved by those who brought potatoes …. and even just potato peels contained enough vitamin c to save them. The book was “the gold diggers”Riverfront and London Diptych

Because of a “preexisting” medical issue, I have an increased need for Iron, potassium and calcium so it seems that potatoes are the veggie I need MORE of.

Thinking_Face_Emoji_largeSo given all of this information, I have decided to work on creating healthy ways to make chips and gravy.

First off, I had to experiment a bit about how to make the french fries.  My first few tries worked out poor, because without oil they stuck miserably to the pan, even the tin foil.        So then I tried 💡……… wait for it…. Parchment paper on the pan. VOILA!


Another issue is the size of our oven an only one rack, I got around this by putting the second pan crosswise over the first pan and it worked quite well.


Then for the gravy, I fried up the veggies I wanted to use, onions, garlic  broccoli and mushrooms.(this  part is TOTALLY open to  creativity.) Then added 3 cups of stock, (I used this stuff, but in the future will make more of my own broth with garlic)


Thickened this with a paste of flour and water, added herbs from garden, oregano, and presto.  Janet’s Chips and Gravy.



I thought it fitting since we are now in Idaho to tell my potato chips story here, Thinking_Face_Emoji_large I AM thinking, I COULD do a recipe book on healthy versions to make of chips and gravy.

We are camping on the beautiful Snake river, and likely heading to Nevada today



We have been blessed with warmer weather than is usually this time of year, but this is going to end soon, so we will need to get further south.

Much Love, Janet, Ken and our gravy loving dog Tucker.



Happy Birthday 65 Ken!

We have been in central Oregon for over a week now (long time for us) and were lucky enough to spend Ken’s BIG birthday with friends in Camp Sherman.  Over the years with all of our moves, and all of our friends moves, we have ended up with friends strewn all over the place, in SUCH a way that we have friends to visit all over the place.  Camp Sherman is a small “settlement” about 9 miles west of Sisters Oregon.  We have never been there, so it was a wonderful adventure with great friendly “tour guides”.

img_5467Since they (our tour guides) have read about “our gravel pit”, they felt obliged to take us up to “their gravel pit”, to look at a totally different, but nonetheless equally spectacular views.

There are a series of volcanoes running through Oregon, providing for beautiful  mountains to look at from almost everywhere here.




We also found the Metolius River extremely interesting. This is a picture of where the river starts, (or headwaters)  as a spring. I have never seen anything like this, a river that just quite suddenly comes out of the ground.


We checked out many spots along the river,  which being spring fed, is mighty cold any time of the year.  Also with it being  mainly spring fed, the depth of the river changes very little throughout the year.  Popular for fly fishing, (catch and release), and trails everywhere.img_5474

I found the colour of the river a particularly beautiful colour of blue, deep and very inviting.  Could not help but wonder if it was a very hot summer day if I might be tempted to jump in.  Apparently it would be brief.image


As part of tour we went to see the Santiam pass ski lodge which a group of interested people are “bringing back”.  We were fortunate enough to be there when someone was working on it, and he showed us around…. so we could see just where the restoration project was at.img_5493


Just a bit of information about the history of the lodge from the “restore oregon” site. Santiam Lodge was constructed between July 1939 and February 1940 as an element of the Three Fingered Jack Winter Sports Area development during the late 1930s. This development also included the original 1930s Hoodoo Ski Bowl. The two and one–half story Santiam Lodge building was originally designed as a ski lodge that could accommodate approximately sixty guests. Rooms within the lodge included dormitory quarters, a dining room, a lounge and specialized ski–related rooms such as a waxing room and storage for skis and related gear. Local stone from nearby Hogg Rock was quarried to construct the ground floor and chimneys. The second floor and attic story were framed with local timber in a regional version of the “Rustic” style.”

The floor has all been stripped down to the glue from the linoleum, and they are leaving it like that until project is finished, to protect the Oak floor that is under the linoleum glue. I am sure it will be beautiful when it is done.


Although most of the lodge was blessed with ” STRONG BONES”… good timbres, such that little is needed to repair the structure, this front wall is buckling, so they are putting strong beams in for support there.img_5490

So, sounds like a great project. You can find more information  HERE

Sorry some of my pictures have fuzzies in the corners… but my iPhone case is buckling at the edges and works its way into my pictures.  Perhaps it also needs new supports.

We are now in Vale Oregon, quite close to the border of Idaho.

We spent last night in the Town  of John Day, and (of course) there was the John Day hotel, the John Day restaurant etc etc….. it really is never ending.  We stayed at the county campground.  Got up this morning to see/(not see) an entire family dressed in matching camouflage outfits, loading up their guns from their RV into their truck. There were the typical teens  whining about getting up so early. It sort of reminded me of the matching pyjamas that people are getting for Christmas.image  So many new experiences for us.  Most of the towns out here have signs coming into town saying “welcome hunters”, and we think “how thoughtful they are to think of us ……..

Bye for now, Much love Janet, Ken and Tucker the rock hunting……. dog……

Thunder egg weather.

We have been very fortunate with the weather this year, and able to spend more time in central oregon.  Our travels are limited by the potential of snow, and temperatures much below freezing. The weather has been spectacular out  here, so we decided to travel east to take advantage of the weather and have a chance to hunt for the great oregon Thunderegg.


which DOES involve digging 😒

We are in the area of the Ochoco National forest, which is home to, according to the book, some of “the most beautiful thundereggs in the world” We were here last year, and have learned a few new things about Thundereggs.

First off  Definition from Wikipedia “A thunderegg (or thunder egg) is a nodule-like rock, similar to a filled geode, that is formed within rhyolitic volcanic ashlayers.[1] Thundereggs are rough spheres, most about the size of a baseball—though they can range from less than an inch to over a meter across. They usually contain centres of chalcedony which may have been fractured followed by deposition of agate, jasper or opal,[1] either uniquely or in combination. Also frequently encountered are quartz and gypsum crystals, as well as various other mineral growths and inclusions. Thundereggs usually look like ordinary rocks on the outside, but slicing them in half and polishing them may reveal intricate patterns and colours. A characteristic feature of thundereggs is that (like other agates) the individual beds they come from can vary in appearance, though they can maintain a certain specific identity within them.”

What we have learned is that they tend to be more perfect (not cracked open) when they are smaller, and what we can figure from the rocks that people leave behind at these digs… is that what more people are looking for are perfect ones.  This one below is sort of “perfect”, fairly round, bubbles on the outside. Usually you can see a seam run through the “waist” or “equator” of the egg.  The problem with finding perfects ones, is that you never know what is in them, until you can open them, hopefully done with a saw to make the  best cut (vs smashing them with a hammer which often ruins them).  I liken them to a walnut or a hand grenade.  Round, lumpy with a seam in the middle.


We took home a few of these small “perfect” ones last year, but our lives took off on us when we got home with selling house, moving and getting acreage read to live on….. that we did not have a chance to cut them open with a saw.  We DID however get an older saw this year, so have all we need now to open these babies up.

Many we find in the holes we did OR in the area around the holes (that others have discarded) look something like this.  Although the picture is not great, this has a watermark agate in the centre.



This one in the centre is a bit larger and the bubbly (botroidal) appearance, is what you are looking for, and more obvious as they get larger.  As they get larger they seem to be less round, I THINK largely because you get more than one amalgamating together.


Another thing we have learned this year is that to find the Thundereggs, you need to dig at least 2 feet down. My take on this, is that it appears that there are at least 2 feet of “top soil”,  or put another way, COMPOST, that the trees and shrubbery have created over the past hundreds of years, hiding the thundereggs.  I sure wish I could have taken that topsoil home….my new acreage does not have nearly this nice of topsoil.

So you can imagine what a back hoe would do in this situation image

Well, in fact, there are 2 privately owned “mines” near here that the owners do just that, they take a backhoe (or larger implement) and open up a whole new area, and people pay to come and hunt thundereggs.   The ones in the Ochoco national forest area are Lucky Strike mine and Richardsons rock farm.

We have wandered through this area for 4 days this year and a few days last year, and I am  convinced that the entire area has thundereggs lying under the topsoil..  WARNING:  I am not a geologist, I just play one, in the winters, (on my blog)image  Ken why did we forget to bring our tractor…. image  You can see here that there is an area of lighter coloured earth, that is where we find STUFF.img_5425

At this point one might wonder why we would take a winter holiday after finishing up all that work on our property, only to come and dig down here….hard to find a good answer for this, but we are self professed scavengers, I guess.

We are often asked…… what will you do with the rocks?  Which we have never had a satisfactory answer to, until NOW.  Now we have a plan, we are going to cut all these rocks and create designs in the floor of our new house.  Our plan for the floor has been to have a concrete floor and we will leave circles (or islands) in the concrete to place our beautiful cut rocks.  We can have one “island ” of cool thundereggs of a greenish colour and another island of  funky Jasper from somewhere else.

So with this in mind, we have decided that we are better off getting all the throw away pieces of thundereggs that others have discarded, because we can see the inside colours, and how the cuts (slabs) will look like on the floor.

As you can see Tucker LOVES looking for thundereggs…. NOT.  He does have fun checking out the entire area once we settle on a place to dig, then settles down for a nap.


We end up in some of the most gorgeous areas in our quest for rocks.  Apparently the air is still quite hazy, but we can see for miles and miles from up there.


Another very interesting this, is that the road seemed to be covered in fresh sawdust.???


But it turns out it was a forest with a large number of Larch Trees.  Larch are deciduous trees that loose their needles in autumn.  Beautiful. We do have these in Canada, but i have never really seen so many in one place, in autumn.img_5429

Another really interesting thing we have found in the area we have been rock hunting is that the entire area seems to have been burned by a forest fire in the past few years.  But everywhere we see these trees apparently burned badly at the bottom……….


But QUITE healthy at the top.


Another great day finished at a local Prineville brewpub, and dinner which was ho hum, but the beer was great. Ken has this rational that we eat SO healthy at home, that he might as well go all out in unhealthy in the restaurant, so as not to be as disappointed when I order the vegetarian wrap 😒…. he had the blue cheese topped burger image


Back home to scrub the rocks, “knowin what to throw away and knowin what to keep”


Trying to imagine them cut and on the floor.


a finished puzzle and time for bed….


Love to all from Ken, Janet and Tucker (the sleeping hound)


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)