“..another seasons promise in the ground” SRogers

This gardening year is drawing to a close and this years wandering aimlessly’s season is just opening up. We have about 4500 garlic in the ground.  We had to create new beds this year, as garlic needs a 3 year crop rotation. So we needed to create about 1000 square feet of new bedding. img_3645

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We took out a lot of raspberries to make more room for garlic. We got 4 loads of donkey manure from the Donkey refuge https://turtlevalleydonkeyrefuge.com.  What a great place, check out the pictures.  We decided this year to be extremely generous with our manure, so each bed got nice and thick (3 year aged) manure.  WE WANT BIG GARLIC next year.

We then put KRAFT paper on top of the beds, (the paper is to keep down the weeds),and then put fresh wood chips down on top.  We had to cut down a few Fir trees this year that were too close to our house (fire concerns) and we got all the limbs chipped, hence the fresh wood chips.img_3651

Then we were “gifted” a load of leaves from our neighbour, who usually burns them. We convinced him that we could make MUCH better use out of them by tucking our garlic under them for the winter. (we did NOT tell him that composting leaves is better for the environment as well)img_3650

PRESTO….  covering up all the garlic beds with a thick layer of leaves. NOW the garlic is ready for the winter. Some years we get a hard frost, and the ground freezes, before it snows, which is not good for the garlic. So all of what we have done here is to provide some insulation. The garlic is technically under 8 inches of stuff, much  less likely to freeze down there. In the spring when it starts to warm, we will move a lot of this “mulch” away from the garlic so it will not make them too wet.

Of course I need to keep track of which type of garlic is where…. this is my complex record keeping “program”.img_3662

 

Another new process we have started this year, out of sheer desperation for controlling weeds, is to use the thick landscape fabric on top of the ground with the plans to move it when we want to “rotate crops”  My theory is that the “carcasses” of the  weeds and plants under the fabric, die and then compost in place.  So when we move the fabric the soil will be enriched and weed free. So everything that is not planted is covered.img_3643

We have also been working on Motorhome, “customizing” it.   For the past year, we have been largely camping in places without hookups, essentially going solar. SOOO we have not used the large convection/microwave since we put in the stove/oven.  Sadly I did not get a very good “before” picture, but this is picture of the stove/oven with the convection microwave above it.

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Ken has taken it out, and created a beautiful motorhome “pantry”.  Which holds an amazing about of stuff.  He does such beautiful work 🙂 img_1034

Ken has also been working hard to make sure that nothing goes wrong with the motorhome, here checking the tires…..lubing what needed lubing to keep us on the road.

Of note, check out the beautiful deck he built this summer, then we wanted an awning, so he went to Craigs list and found an awning perfect for our house….50$.  Now we can sit out on our deck, and pretend we are in a French Cafe. 🙂

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Our “other” new feature this year is the jeep wrangler we are now towing.

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Now we are down in Kelowna in the pouring rain, which is always the way we spend the first days of camping each fall.  Fortunate to have Josh, our son, looking after the house for the winter.    Much love to all who choose to follow us, and our obsessive life.  Janet

 

The long ways home…..

On our way home now, in fact I can see Canada from where I am sitting (at the border) We have had a great time in Oregon. Started out with 2 nights at Cape Blanco, one of our favourite spots for looking for beach agates.  We walk down from the Cape Blanco campground and walk the two miles to the Elk River.IMG_2965

We things have changed a LOT. Good news, and Bad news. The Elk River mouth is MUCH closer to cape Blanco than it used to be, an enormous amount of erosion and it appears that much of the bank has disappeared from when we were there last year.

The banks behind Ken in this picture used to extend to where he is in this picture.

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The BAD news is that (our guess) the soil from there high ridges came down and covered up all the agates. We only found a few with 3 days of searching.

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We had great fun and Tucker is looking so nice after his major swim in that river in northern California (mentioned in the last BLOG)

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We ran into a few “fellow” “Canadians” there.  They decided that they would not be heading home QUITE yet.

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NOW as well as bean sprouts we are also growing Pea sprouts. GREAT in tomato sauce on pasta

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We spent a few days in Bandon, where we used to live. We used to have pizza parties at our house when we lived in Bandon, we have a large living room and invited everyone over after political rallies etc. When we moved away, my great friend Gail, has graciously offered her home for these great get togethers.I had intended to go around and take pictures of all the wonderful friends who came out to listen to a few of our songs, hear our rock stories and just visit and share the love.  I miss all of these people so much after we moved away.  There is something very special about people who will take to the streets for a common cause, and I hold my commonality with these folks very dear in my heart. Women in Black, Usual suspects, Bandonistas, Fine Women are just a few of the names we went through back then.  MAN -OH- Man I DO love these folks.

But we are on a bit of a schedule, looking for a window of opportunity to get this motorhome home. British Columbia has had a HUGE dump of snow, and today (Saturday) appears to be the best time to try to get home without any snow…..besides.. we have just ran out of homegrown Raspberry jam.

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It is currently 2 degrees Celsius which is about 29 Fahrenheit. and So I will close from here, for now

Much Love to all

janet

A Shock….ing story

Back when we were in Kingman, Ken came around the back of the rig, while filling up with gas, and there was a guy under our motorhome. EEEK.. Well it turns out that he had been following us and noticed how dreadful our shocks were. He just HAPPENED to have a mobile “replacing shocks” service.
Now although we were very leery, we also had been wanting to change the shocks and it is always extremely complicated to get anything done on our rig (as you will see in this story)…. so we went with it. I got the cash and insisted Ken stay with them the whole time. (after the disastrous brake situation where the guy put one of the callipers on wrong).
So we pulled into the parking lot of a mall, and they got the correct size measurements and one of them went off to purchase them. He came back and within an hour we had brand new shocks on the back of the rig, and it all went well.  Kind of funny, as we were driving away, we could see them following another older motorhome…

This blog does not have any associated pictures so I thought I would intersperse a few from the gem show. This is tigers eye from Australia.

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SOOOOOO then we decided we wanted to get the shocks replaced for the front. Ken figured he would do it himself.
We were in Parker AZ. Ken found an online ad for a store in Parker, and gave the guy the measurements, and he said that they would be in the next day by 4 and the shop closed at 5.
We went up to Lake Havasu for the day to visit friends and rushed back to Parker in time to get the shocks. We could not find the store, and so Ken phoned again and turns out that the store WAS in Lake Havasu city, where we had been all day. SHEEsh. So then he figured what the heck, and decided to drive up the next day to pick up the shocks anyways (about 35 miles..) He got there and they had ordered the wrong size.
So we hung around another day, deciding to really solve this problem and once more they got the wrong size in. So we decided to give up on this place… and  move on down to Quartzite. He went into a shop there and ordered the part and was quite specific….. but once again the wrong park came in.

This is a massive ?? Jasper piece from Australia, the rocks that come from these far away places, they ship them over.

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Finally finally … he resorted to the OLD FARTS forum, and one of the guys “BILL” coming to the Safari rally ordered the shocks, picked them up in Havasu and brought them to the rally. They were the correct ones. Ken had a hard time getting one of the old ones off and so “BILL” had the compressor tool to take it off, Ken got them off, put on the new ones and now we have 4 new shocks. So the morale of this long story, is that sometimes…. things that seem pretty weird, work out.

This some of the jewelry  that our friends from Hawthorn AZ their shop is called ROCK CHUCK, have made. They do the mining, cut the cabochons AND make the jewelry.  These pieces are a mixture of the various gems they mine. Turquoise, and varicite are the two I recognize.IMG_2763

HUGE ammonites from morocco

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We have officially said goodbye to Quartzite and are heading up to Havasu to drop off the rental car.  It will be great, because it is not much fun driving in 2 vehicles, Tucker gets lonely, he IS a 2 person dog, AND it has not been very useful. We WILL work out something different next year.

BYE for now

ALL MY LOVE

janet

africanized bees and rattlesnakes….

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Today we are somewhere east of Phoenix, with good internet and so thought I would take a chance to display some of the rocks, and tell a few stories.

We stayed at Wickenburg for 3 days, the rockhounding book had said to go 3 miles east of town to find geodes and agates, but we found a community campground (no services, but 7$/night) just one mile east of town.  We went for walk that night and found lots of geodes both exploded and unexploded.

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Unexploded… I find they look like hand grenades… and it has taken us 2 years to FINALLY learn how to recognize the unexploded ones.

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THE EXPLODER……

Some times we are convinced they are a geode, but alas JUST a “leaverite” rock (leaver right where you found er)IMG_2517

This is what we usually find, … parts of geodes that someone else has smashed and left bits behind.

“Geodes are spherical to subspherical rock structures with an internal cavity lined with mineral materials. They have a durable outer wall that is more resistant to weathering than the surrounding bedrock. This allows the geode to survive intact when the surrounding bedrock weathers away. The mineral lining the cavity is often a scintillating druse of tiny quartz crystals underlain by multiple bands of translucent gray and white agate. Many are lined with more spectacular treasures.

Rich purple amethyst, perfect white calcite crystals, and colorful banded agate are other common linings. Rare geodes can be filled with beautiful blue gem silica, pink rhodochrosite, spectacular opal with vivid play-of-color or other rare materials. Geodes range in size from under one centimeter to several meters in length. From the outside most geodes look like common rocks, but when they are opened the sight can be breathtaking.”  ( I copied this from a site on geodes to explain what they are.)

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The object with geodes is to recognize them in the rough, so you can bring them home and properly cut them with a saw to display the crystals inside. There are amethysts in the area of Wickenburg, who knows, perhaps some of these might have some amethyst in them.

So about RATTLESNAKES.  We were walking along (with Tucker) and heard a HISS sound (hiss without the sss). It sounded important enough, so we backed off. We did not see anything, but large holes in the ground around the base of the bushes.  So came back to the internet and searched for rattlesnake sounds and sure enough it was. Apparently it is not unheard of for them to be out in the winter, and the day was quite warm. They actually can hibernate at different times of the year, and they also tend to avoid the real heat of summer. Uncertain of what to do, I figured that there ARE rattlesnakes around Kamloops near where we live, so we opted to avoid the thick grasses.  So all in all a happy rattlesnake story.IMG_2475

We are now east of Phoenix, on our way to Quartzsite, at some point. We have found some of the most beautiful agates here.  We believe they are Fire agates, at least of moderate to low quality, but very beautiful cut. WE DO HAVE A ROCK SAW….  🙂IMG_2506

Yesterday while we were out looking for rocks we got swarmed by bees.  They were very different from any other bees we have seen in that they were quite aggressive. It did not seem to matter what we did they would not go away. We came back to camp and saw that they were totally swarming around my bucket with rocks in it. (we were soaking the rocks in soapy water to clean them).  WE clean our rocks and decide which ones to keep at the end of the day.

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As you can see there were many dead bees in the water, because it contained soap. The only thing I could think was that they were attracted by the water, no other water source out here, and when we are walking we have wet cloths with us to wipe of the rocks. They, I believe, were attracted by the moisture. I went and researched them and apparently 90% of Arizona wild bees have become africanized.  They are much more aggressive and travel in larger groups, and destroy the resident honey bee populations.

https://www.cvbugle.com/news/2017/mar/25/behind-buzz/

Great article on them.  SOOO I did not feel so bad that my rock water had killed so many bees.  Good news, we did not get bit, they seemed to be after anything with moisture, sweaty back pack, wet cleaning cloth, tuckers water dish.

I thought I would show you a few pictures of some of the rocks we have found here, cut.

We do not have the greatest saw, plan to cut them on a better saw when we get home, it is just nice here to be able to see what the inside looks like.

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Well it is Christmas morning and I feel the rest of the family stirring in the back (tucker takes my spot in bed when I get up). This is the view out my window now.

Merry christmas and lots of love to everyone

Janet

Hunkered down in Tonopah.

We are currently HUNKERED down in Tonopah NV due to weather. Yesterday there were winds up to 50 mph, and last night it went down to -7 C (19.4F). So time to repair, reflect, and do laundry.

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We did do a bit of wandering, but it was VERY cold and as you can see a sand storm in the distance.

We bought this motorhome 2.5 years ago, a 1995 Sahara Safari, essentially for the price of the new diesel Cummings engine, (which had been installed 600 miles prior).  Essentially we got the rest of the motor home for free, ……..retrospectively, it would seem .. what it was worth 🙂

A few years ago, the roof was destroyed in a storm and cost 8000$ to replace.  We were fortunate that it happened in a storm in that insurance paid for it. Shortly after that, a major part went in the transmission that was going to cost about 6000 dollars, and so the guy at the place basically said that we might want to get rid of the motorhome.  Our thoughts were “how could we get rid of it , it has a new roof?”  (of course you KNOW  what a slippery slope this kind of story can be…. )…….  At which time Ken FINALLY remembered his password to get onto the Safari online forum, a group we endearingly call the “OLD FARTS FORUM”.  We were told about a guy who remakes these parts, so we got one sent up from Texas for 600  bucks, and we were on our way again.

I shall not bore you with all of the things we (KEN) has repaired, but suffice it to say that it is a LOT.  Point to be made here is :DO NOT BUY AN OLD MOTORHOME unless you have a “KEN” to keep it running.  The past 2.5 years has been an apprenticeship of sorts for Ken, and I feel confident that he could, at this point, open up his own Safari repair shop.  He is continually in contact with the old Farts learning how everything is supposed to work. The previous owners of our motorhome had made an incredible mess of all of the wiring, and “jimmie rigged a lot.   But then the weather is pretty hard on it too. Yesterday Ken had to take all the panelling off the door after the STRONG winds caught hold of it and tore some of the wiring.

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OH and Tucker is still remembering how much fun he had while we were in Eugene, waiting to get the brakes fixed.

Despite all of this we have LOTS of fun traveling in the motorhome, most days we can just open the door and head off into whatever desert we are exploring.

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Just outside Hawthorne Nevada which is  the worlds largest munitions dump.IMG_2210

Yesterdays rocks all cleaned and ready for the basement.

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This is the frost on the INSIDE of the single pane windows…………..

We WILL have to head further south today.

MUCH love…

first day on the road.

Do you ever worry when things are going too well?  Well I have had an uneasy week, that has been going FAR TOO WELL. Make no mistake, it has been an incredible week.

We have spent a month worrying as to whether weather would allow us to hit the road when we wanted to, having left it so late in the year. I managed to get out of my last shift at work, so we could head south today. Every year we have headed south, thus far, we have spent cleaning up water, with leaking roofs, leaking wheel wells, leaking toilets, burst pipes, and this year, Ken has obsessively made certain that EVERYTHING was going to work well. I was getting very uncomfortable with how things were going.. Just too good. SOMETHING had to go wrong.

Well everything was according to plan,  great weekend medical conference at sparkling hill resort in vernon.

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Made it home in time for one last dog walk with my friend

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, we hit the road to spend night at Dylan and Sarah’s (our son and daughter in law)in Kamloops. Great evening…..

Then it happened, we decided before we left kamloops to fill up our tanks with water. There was the usual filling noises, but then there was a different sort of filling noise that sounded more like a spray, and presto…. the motor home was once again rivets of water running down the floor.  Then soaking towels hanging all over the place and heaters trying to dry the floor. SAME OLD SAME OLD.  Turns out this obsolete ice maker in the motor home is still connected to the water, and  I guess the pipe must have broken when it got cold a few weeks ago.  It was great that we FOUND a problem, and Ken was able to fix it.

We both felt quite relieved that FINALLY something had gone wrong, and that it was fixable. So now our trip is back to usual and we can stop worrying about when the floods are to begin.

Ken has made so many changes to “taj” the motorhome this year, the biggest being installing a range stove/oven.  UP until now we have only had a 2 burner stove top, that worked very poorly. NO OVEN.

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So Ken has taken out 3 drawers, moved them into one of the closets,….IMG_0748

and installed this wonderful stove. We have decided we are going to try to make bread every day.

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We buy our own grains locally, and have our own stone grinder, and have ground up several containers of local grain flour for over the winter. So we needed an oven.  We have this book teaching how to make a daily loaf of bread, in 5 minutes, so we will let you know how that goes.

We are now south of the border, and though we have lots of fruits and veggies we have preserved, we technically do not have any fruits or vegetables, which  from the research I have done is fine crossing borders. Preserved foods do not spread diseases.

Much love

Janet…. and Ken and Tucker

Living off the land….on the road.

Living off the land…. on the road.

I am going to write this year about our upcoming adventure to points south of here in our motorhome. In  particular I am hoping to write about how we are taking our garden with us, in many delicious ways.

As we are coming to terms with the first snowfall, and the first plunge into freezing temperatures, we are wishing we might have been somewhere very far south by this time…… but we are not.  We will be soon though.

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DREARY isn’t it?

We arrived home from last  years adventures (that I wrote about here) on January 4th 2017. It was an abrupt transition from 3 wonderful months of exploring, and rock hounding, that ended with a letter from CRA, Canada Revenue Agency. They were auditing us for our 2014 year which was the last one we actually had an office practice, so it was a big deal. After years of running  our doctors office, we had gotten a bit slack on record keeping and downright lazy on keeping receipts.

So we opted to take on this audit with the same energy that we put into everything, and sat here for an entire month, reconstructing 2014 and tracking down receipts. Did you know that there are a lot of things that they do NOT give you receipts for?  Well by the time May came, it appeared that the CRA actually would be owing us money, so they quietly said that they would not change our tax return…… and we just left it at that….no point in pushing our luck.  One thing about the CRA (and I am sure the IRS) …. when they say they do not accept credit card bills or check stubs….. THEY MEAN IT!

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WE ALSO TOOK THIS TIME TO START 800 Heirloom tomato plants……

Not sure when exactly it happened, but somewhere along the way, last winter, I decided that I had worked TOO DAMMED hard to become a doctor to let it gojust yet. So I DID go back to work this past year.  I was not totally sure what I wanted to do to begin with, but after being audited it was clear I did not want to have my own clinic.  Primary care is going through major changes now based on the shortage of primary care doctors, and so I have found my self with several options that do not involve clinic.  After some trials, I am now working at a very new concept rapid access breast health clinic.  We get referrals from the screening mammogram program.  It is a very cool program in that a person who has a concerning mammogram in the screening program,  gets seen, reviewed, breast exam done and biopsy done all in the same day.  As a cancer surviver myself, I have often credited the doctor whom offered me a biopsy the first day I saw her. …….. with my timely diagnosis. (mine was not breast cancer)

I am also doing work in Long Term Care facilities, as a director and I cover for other doctors when they are away. MUST protect my winter  time off.

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OH and we also bought an electric car, because where I work is 90 Km away from where we live and could not come to terms with all of the fuel I would burn through driving all this way to work  2-3 times a week.

 

SOOOO Back to the living off the land part.

We have a (sort of) Market garden. We grow vegetables and sell them at the market, and some day we hope to make money at this. We totally benefit from this in that it feeds us. We EAT VERY WELL.

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So we have squirrelled away our harvest, and this year are hoping to live off the land, on the road.

My last day of work at the breast clinic is November 22nd, and we plan to leave after I get off work.  Currently we are studying 14 day weather forecasts hoping for a no snow no ice day for November 22nd.

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So I am hoping to talk about our adventures as well as how we grew, harvested and preserved the fruit and vegetables that we are bring along with us for the winter, as well as how I cooked them perhaps.  Right now we are excited to get away, but still have lots to do before we leave.

So follow along our trip if you find it interesting, but do not feel obliged…. I just like to write.  MUCH LOVE Janet