A Look Back at 2016

It’s past time for my annual review of goals, but I’m going to do it anyway.  I usually try to write this prior to Winter Solstice, but this year it’s been hard to focus. 

My Mother had taken the time to reflect on the past year and commented that she had no idea how I had managed to get through 2016, little alone reach any of my goals.  I thought about that and decided I should look back at the year first, then look at what I might have accomplished.

We started the year living in our 25’ travel trailer.  We had sold our home in Escalante, UT and had purchased a new (to us) home in Enoch, but had allowed the sellers to rent back until February 1st.  We put everything we owned in our commercial building in Escalante and went to Quartzsite, AZ for the month of January.  Tracy was changing his hobby/craft one more time from photography to lapidary arts and needed some equipment.

It didn’t take him long to find an 18” and a 24” rock saw.  The bigger problem was how to get them home.  “No problem”, he says.  “We’ll buy a utility trailer and run them home”.  After driving nearly every street in Quartzsite, we finally found an old beater that would work.  It looked like the devil, but was of sound structure and had bigger tires than most.  The saw dealer arranged for the parks’ forklift use and the saws were loaded in no time.

I took advantage of the opportunity and purchased an old mine car complete with rails for front yard décor.  It just fit in the unused trailer space.  We hooked that poor trailer to the truck and headed for Enoch.  That was after we spent a whole day wiring the lights on the trailer.  The ones there didn’t work and we couldn’t haul it 500 miles through 3 states without lights. 

It was a 3-day “adventure” to “run” the trailer home, park it and return. Sore rumps and wet weather made for a “just drive” trip.  On the return trip, we got to the motel at Henderson and were greeted with a pack of big horn sheep. Not something you expect to see in the heart of the Las Vegas Valley.  But all that lovely, well-kept grass was too much to resist for their afternoon nap in the shade of the city park trees.

We returned to Quartzsite for some beads, picks, signs, and the 6 buckets of rough rock we purchased at the Saturday Auction.  Those and the 4 buckets of found rock were tucked under the trailer and we headed to La Mesa, Ca. to see my mom.

Her health has continued to decline and as trustee for the Family trust I needed to gather paperwork for the tax returns.  We took her to Balboa Park and the natural History Museum.  She had ever been.  It’s a place I spent many hours as a teenager, meditating as the pendulum clock knocked over little wooden pegs that marked every 5 minutes, as it swayed back and forth in long arcs across the shiny floor.

Time to return to Quartzsite and retrieve the trailer and rocks.  The sellers had left our new home the 15th of January and the house was ready for repairs.  We were ready for our next major adventure – or so we thought.

Until next time – – –

Happy Sandwich Day

History of Sandwich Day
There is a commonly known story about the history of the word sandwich, and it’s attributed to John Montagu, the 4th Earl of Sandwich. One piece of that history that’s rarely discussed is the meaning of the word Sandwich and the town it comes from. Sandwich is a city in the shire of Kent in England, originally the word was spelled Sondwic, and then Sandwic, and ultimately in 1086 as Sandwice. The name of the town came from its purpose and its claim to fame, it was a market town. So what does Sandwich actually mean? “Market Town on Sandy Soil”.

John Montagu was the 4th Earl of this town, a royal title that essentially means ‘chieftain’ and placed them in charge of a territory in the King’s stead. John was a well a known lover of card games, and it’s said he originally ordered his meat to be delivered to him between two slices of bread so that he would not get his grease laden fingers on the card, nor require a fork to eat. As people heard of this, they started ordering their food “The Same as Sandwich”, and eventually just “a sandwich”. From such things are legendary culinary delights born. Sandwich Day celebrates both the Earl himself, and the wonder he brought to us in the form of the sandwich.

Desperation

Desperation?

We’re learning, or trying to, learn how to do nothing.  We’re in between homes, living in our 25’ travel trailer and hoping the days go by quickly. Usually we have so much on our plates that we’re not sure how we’ll get it all finished.  Is this truly how other retired folks live in the 56 RV Parks and campgrounds here in Quartzsite, Arizona?

We’ve both walked the rock show at least 4 or 5 times. So today we decided we’d do some of the small businesses in town. We started with the used book store.  We were greeted by three tall Cowboys with Stetson hats, arms crossed and a tiny book on a stand in front of each of them. We had stumbled upon an authors fair, only there wasn’t much festive about it. Their body language was more “you better not question my writing and I’m not answering any questions” then it was an opportunity to chat with an author about their style, subject, or other possible stories.

I went into the book store where the atmosphere was more card and gift than book store. If there was any rhyme or reason to how things were shelved it was not apparent. We were looking for two things here in the rockhounding/trading capitol of the west – old “Rock and Gem “ magazines and Arizona gem hunting books. When the owner replied, “is there really a magazine by that title?”, I knew we were in trouble. I wasn’t surprised to learn she didn’t have any, and with the appearance of other customers we left.

Tracy had gone out to look through the small outbuilding they used as a rock shop. They had some nice pieces and Tracy asked the elderly gentleman the price. With felt cowboy hat and warm coat he proceeded to quote him a price.  The view of his bare legs and teeny bum were free, but you could buy a bookmark with his picture on it for $3.00 sporting a hand crocheted ball and penis bag in your choice of colors.  Today’s bag was brown.

That was #enough for me. So we headed for the yarn shop where the husband ran the register but couldn’t answer any questions and the wife/crafter/knitter she wasn’t there in the afternoons. That sent us to the public library where 15 computers were available 1 hour at a time. Ah! I felt some sense of normalcy.

What’s on the agenda for tomorrow?  I think we’re going back to the book store to see if she can find books on rockhounding Arizona.  Tracy asked me if that was out of desperation?  I think so. But take heart we told each other – only 3 more days this week  and five next without a project. Maybe we’ll go back and get a bookmark.

Ah, I feel better already.    Until next time. . .
.

Rock Hunting Above Enoch, UT

rock huntingWe took the road to the left on this adventure to the BLM lands east of Enoch, Utah. Up about a quarter mile all you can hear is the freeway noise. Junipers blanket the hillside and provide what shade there’s going to be from the 100 degree+ heat.

Tracy is hunting for high contrast agate for cabs. I’m looking for small flats/chips to tumble for my baskets. There’s so much to choose from, it would be easy to fill a gallon bag in a short time. I’m looking for more subtle pieces that will blend and accent the basket, not be the focal point for it.

When we were rock hunting in the private land sections of Death Valley, CA it came home to me that it was possible many of those wind-polished rocks had not been moved in 100’s of years. And that they should be moved gently – you never knew what creature could be raising their own family underneath.

Most of what we chose today have been washed down from above, what the BLM calls “float”, and is legal to acquire without permit or fee. Another treasure trove considered float (because we aren’t going to mine for it) are the rocks road graders have “popped” up during road repair. This can be a little more difficult if it hasn’t rained since they graded.

Grandmother’s relatives left tobacco as a thank you for sharing when rock, weaving materials and food were taken from the land. As I chose to be a non-smoker 27 years ago, I don’t have tobacco around. I decided to purchase corn seeds from the local farm store in the spring. A good 1 lb of seed usually lasts me a full year of hunting. It’s my thank you and the squirrels, birds, and others benefit from them and sometimes I’ll spot a plant from the previous year’s offering.

The hillsides and meadows are still green. The Junipers show off their blue berries and many of the cactus have gone from flower to fruit. The Juniper/Cedar berries are used by many of the local tribal women for beads. Some of the tribes call them “ghost beads”. I use them on my baskets, but I don’t harvest and string them, I buy them from the ladies of the other tribes. They are not too expensive and about 6 ft’ of beads lasts a long time.

The morning air has a little bite and it feels like fall. Too early on a calendar, but Mother Earth will do what she wants. I’m ready for winter any time she is.

Until next time – – – – –

Art Show Adventures

A trip to Brian Head started out wrong. Getting caught in the paving project at Hwys 12 and 89 put us behind a good 30 minutes.

Then it was carefree vacationers playing bite the bumper that further added to the turmoil. THEN A Much-hyped art event for Cedar Breaks National Monument turned out to be much ado about very little.

All dressed up and nowhere to go?

Absolutely not! A nice young man working the lift at the resort offered a free ski lift trip. I’ve always wanted to ride one but not ski. It was marvelous, and the view superb.

That set us off in a different direction. We left and headed back over the hill to Panguitch for something to eat. A chicken –bacon wrap and root beer hit the spot.

We finished the evening with a stop at Bryce Canyon for popcorn and an hour at the rock shop. Not the plan, but better than the 45 image art sale .