Biking and Brenda

We are having a total blast with these bikes.

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We have been experimenting with Tucker, as I realized that it is likely the heat that wears him out. It is not THAT hot here, but there is no real shade. So while we are out on the bikes, he finds whatever places he can for shade. We stop every 1 mile to give him a break, and water, and he seems to be doing better. Yesterday I tried a makeshift “cooling collar”, soaking wet facecloth, but he got it off, today we will try a wet scarf.

Scotch Creek (where we live) is a LOT hotter than this in the summer, but the trails we hike usually have lots of shake trees.

Also sticking to the “roads” which are basically very very rough 4×4 roads, he is not getting any cactus spines in his feet.

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AND ME…. I am becoming a real mountain biker. Ken is amazed of the terrain I just weave my way through. BRAVE BRAVE Janet…..  These fat tires just ride over everything, and I am now actually trying to steer around big rocks.  Usually I see something scary and for some reason just steer straight towards it.  I have not crashed in 3 whole days, amazing. The gravel is often quite thick, and with the pedal assist function, (and the fat tires) you just keep going through the gravel….. and yes fishtailing.   Ken has this BIG smile on his face.

So each day we are heading out on the bikes, going anywhere from 2-3 miles out and stopping frequently to look for rocks, scenery etc… Having picnics….. getting back to the MH at about 3 in the afternoon.  Then we clean all of our rocks, and try to keep only the best.

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Which brings me to the part about rock graveyards.

Whenever we find more rocks, we have to go through what we already have and throw some out. So each place we camp, usually has a pile of “what we thought were treasures, but do not think are treasures anymore”.  Often what you find today, makes yesterdays finds look like JUST ROCKS.

We CAN tell others do this too, in that often we find other rockhounds rock graveyards. Sometimes we pick through them for special rocks we do not have samples of, but usually end up throwing them away at the next stop.  I am sure this entity will be very confusing to geologists in the future.

Well yesterday was laundry day…… and I was wondering what this guy had on his right hip….? Not seen one of those before, likely something to keep his quarters in 🙂

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So once a week we go back into town (quartzite ) do the sani dump thing…. fill up with fresh water, drop off our small bags of garbage at the dump and do laundry.  That took 2 hours and so we spent the afternoon looking at the thousands of rocks at the gem show which is on now in quartzite.

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These are mexican fire agates, we are just learning about how to work with fire agates…. how to bring out the fire, which would be the dark spots on these.  I fear my pictures never do the rocks justice.

and a lovely sink we bought for 150.00….  made of limestone from Morocco.   We also looked at plates.IMG_2632

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and some incredible tigers eye from Australia. Tigers eye  is a chatoyant gemstone that the way the minerals align within the rock it gives a wavy type of appearance.  Again I wish my pictures did the rocks justice.

The show that is on now is pretty large, and is called the Desert Gardens Gem and mineral show, and it goes the whole month and then from the 17th to the 21st is the HUGE QIA POWWOW which is all the same sellers that are here now, plus many many more.  Many specialized rock people JUST come to the pow wow.  At least that is how I understand it.

We have met sellers from India, Morocco, South Africa, Argentina,  and TEXAS so far. It truly is fun just looking at all the rocks. We have lots of books for identifying the rocks we find, but just like I cannot do the rocks justice with pictures, it seems that neither can anyone else. Much better to see them LIVE.  AND all the sellers are more than happy to tell you ALL about the rocks. Great place to learn.

Well back to sorting rocks.

Much love to everyone

Janet

Still enjoying garden, 5 weeks out….

Five weeks on the road, and we are still eating food from our garden. In the fall we harvested, canned, dried and froze a lot of food to take along on this trip.  We had over a hundred heirloom tomato plants so after the farmers market ended, we started drying and canning the tomatoes.

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We made roasted heirloom tomato sauce which we have brought about 30 pints.

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Also apple, green tomato chutney x 12 jars (great on rice, easy dinner).  We dried tomatoes as well and put them in oil in a jar for putting on pizzas and stir fries.

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We put the dried tomatoes into olive oil to reconstitute them and keep them in the fridge then.

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We also brought several winter squash, spaghetti and delicata.

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Ken was adamant this year that we were not going to waste any fruit, so took on the huge task of peeling, coring and slicing (we have a gadget that does this), and drying all of the apples, pears, peaches and we even dried raspberries.(and some grapes)

We also have dried beans that we have grown called calypso beans.

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I also made 2 types of pesto and froze it, Basil, parsley (italian and curly)

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I did a lot of research last year about crossing borders and food and found that essentially preserved food is allowed. (not meat). Of course there are always border crossing workers who opt to write their own laws, as many of the Canadian citizens  with coloured skin were not allowed into the US with the recent border changes.

But last year we brought canned tomatoes etc   and were searched (as we often are being a motorhome) and all he was looking for was sheep or goat meat.

Why do this?  Well one this is cost, organic food is expensive especially produce, and having all of it at home for free. At home we also work hard at achieving the 100 mile diet. Eating foods that were grown within 100 miles is an environment choice. They say that the food in the grocery store has travelled further than the average person travels on vacation.  We also do this for political reasons, why buy food that is from half way around the world, when you can support local growers?

We also buy our own locally grown grains, such as rye and fife, and  grind them with a stone grinder.  Have ground a few large bins of flour for the trip, for the pizzas and breads along the way.

Then for fresh produce we have a map of all of the trader joe stores along the way and stop there once a week.

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We have a great system for composting, an IKEA rack attached to the wall, and we fill up biodegradable bags with compost and then bury them out in the desert. I am sure that some poor tomato plants will start growing in spring only to look around and say, WHAT AM I DOING HERE?… and then quickly die in the heat.

OH and we are growing mung beans to have for dinner once a week.

We are pretty conservative with our water, so head to a sani dump every 5 days to fill up and dump the tank, but usually we have 3/4 of a tank of water left, so we could likely last for a few weeks without more water etc..  The solar panels in the day are enough to run the LED lights and the furnace and other devices for the evening.

So we are pretty self sufficient.

And while we are traipsing around the desert we have our 3600 garlic planted and protected (back home) , hopefully our biggest garlic ever. (perhaps enough to fund next years trip)

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and DID I mention we are finding rocks, perhaps I need to write a blog one of these days to show all the rocks we have found once I figure out for sure what they all are.

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And them great sunsets just keep coming

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Much love to all and merry christmas.